NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension funds and pension providers with cross-border ambitions should put such plans on hold and focus on solving asset shortages caused by the credit crunch, the Dutch pension regulator DNB has warned.

Joane Kellerman, director of the DNB, told delegates at an industry conference yesterday their plans for a future in the international pension market should wait, as pension funds need to recover from the effects continous negative returns have had on their cover ratios.

What is necessary now is "a bit less attention on marketing and the shop window, and first getting the shop itself in order again," she argued.

Discussing the IORP and Solvency II directives, Kellerman said the required level playing field is still not in place, and added the Dutch financial industry does not yet have the necessary infrastructure to market itself as the international centre of pension expertise.

More specifically, she suggested Dutch pensions expertise focuses mainly on defined benefit and collective defined contribution systems, but lags its expertise towards defined contribution schemes.

The news comes as several of the large players on the Dutch pension market have announced ambitions to win third-party business internally and abroad, while some pension providers have already opened offices abroad.

Mn Services, the Dutch pension administrator and asset manager owned by the two Dutch metal industry pension funds BPMT and PME, last week officially launched its new London-based office, headed by former ABN Amro Asset Management director Remco van Eeuwijk. (See also earlier IPE story: Mn Services launches UK office)

APG Group formalised a deal with the €1.6bn Italian pension administrator PensPlan
in October this year which will initially see APG manage €100m in assets for the Italian provider.

APG is the newly-separated asset manager and pension provider of the largest Dutch pension fund, ABP.

A spokesman for the group declined to comment on Kellerman's remarks.

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