IT firm and administrative service provider Centric said it was willing to take over the pensions administration of six of the industry-wide pension funds that have to leave Syntrus Achmea.

Both companies have signed a letter of intent for a collective transition scheduled to take effect before 31 December 2017.

The deal also included the transfer of some of Achmea’s staff to Gouda-based Centric. The company said the number would depend on how many schemes take up its offer.

In a joint statement, the companies said that the agreed arrangements involved the sector pension funds for concrete products (BPF Betonproductenindustrie), the wood trade (BPF Houthandel), the travel sector (BPF Reiswerk), dental technicians (BPF Tandtechniek), the furniture industry (BPF Meubel), and the wood-processing and yacht-building industries (BPF Houtverwerkende Industrie en Jachtbouw).

The last of these has stated that it would not take up the offer, while BPF Meubel has already agreed to transfer to Centric. The other schemes have yet to decide whether to accept the arrangements. 

Centric said it would carry out pension and financial administration, and offer management support, legal advice, and communication services. The six pension funds have 200,000 participants in total.

The relatively large sector schemes for hairdressers (Kappers) and the cold meat sector (Vleeswaren), with 65,000 and 77,000 participants respectively, won’t transfer their administration to Centric.

“Both schemes have complicated arrangements,” explained a spokesman for Syntrus Achmea. “It turned out to be impossible to transfer their administration within the agreement and the available capacity.”

Both pension funds previously indicated that they expected problems in finding a new provider in the short term.

At 2016-end, Syntrus Achmea announced that it would cease servicing 15 industry-wide pension funds within two years, as its IT systems could no longer cope with the multitude of pension arrangements.

Instead, it said it would focus on company and occupational pension funds, as well as its own general pension fund (APF).

Commenting on the agreement, Tom van der Spek, chairman of Achmea’s retirement division, emphasised that the agreement was focused on a smooth transition of Achmea’s services to Centric.

“Our customers and their participants can count on a transfer to an organisation that wants to grow and invest in the administration of sector schemes,” he said.

Van der Spek added that the agreement would safeguard Achmea employees’ jobs as well as their specific knowledge and experience.

Centric – which has also offices in Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Romenia, Sweden, and Switzerland – employs 4,500 staff.

The €500m pension fund for the wood-processing and yacht-building sector said it would place its administration with Delta Lloyd instead.

It added that it would also outsource its asset management – currently also with Syntrus Achmea – to Delta Lloyd, which is to be taken over by Nationale Nederlanden.

Peter Schuil, chairman of the BPF Houtverwerkende Industrie en Jachtbouw, said that Delta Lloyd came up with the best offer, which included a “legacy-free” platform, “excellent means of communication”, and the “lowest costs”.

The scheme’s current administration costs amount to €250 per participant, which is more than twice the level at most other larger pension funds.