NETHERLANDS – Cordares is to create a new individual and ‘user-friendly’ pension planning product for the new union for Dutch self-employed people.

The Dutch Alternative for Labour Union (AVV) has appointed the pensions management group, formerly the SFB fund for the building industry for the task.

AVV – a newly established labour union representing the interests of the self-employed, amongst others - is also establishing a new open pension fund (OPen) for self-employed workers.

Currently, the roughly 700,000 self-employed people in the Netherlands cannot join a pension saving scheme because they have no formal employer-employee relationship, according to a Cordares statement.

However, changes to Dutch pension law and new EU guidelines provide a platform to create a new open pension scheme for self-employed people, said AVV chairperson Mei Li Vos.

However, AVV will have to get Dutch government approval for the product. Vos told IPE that the authorities are split. While some camps want to comply with European recommendations, some labour unions, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the steering committees of pension funds are very content with the current pensions system.

According to Vos, this “very powerful lobby” is refusing change. However, she stated that AVV would initiate talks and hopes to get approval by the end of the year. The union might also consider challenging authorities if it fails to get approval.

Codares was selected via a tendering and selection process, which included some large insurance companies and various pension providers. The process – during February and the beginning of March – was administered in-house by AVV.

Cordares’ product has been described by the group as a “hybrid ‘defined risk’ type of product”, seeking to balance individual investment choice, risk management and cost transparency. It was also labelled “cost-effective” by Vos.

According to Codares’ sales, strategy and innovation managing director Jeroen Tielman, there is a need for a user-friendly individual pension-planning product.

"We see a great need for an alternative pension product combining some of the benefits of DB as well as of DC. The deal with AVV provides us the opportunity to develop something totally new based on the profile of the AVV interest group".

There is a roughly seven-strong team working on the product. Tielman expects the product to be ready “by year-end”, he told IPE.

Tielman - founder of FundPartners and former director of pension business development at NIBC Bank - joined Cordares in January.

Cordares serves around 1m pension participants, and has €23bn in pension assets under management.