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AbbVie relocates Dutch pension fund to Belgium

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Pharmaceutical company AbbVie has moved its Dutch pensions to Belgium, where they have been placed with United Pensions OFP, the multi-scheme vehicle run by Aon Hewitt.

Both players confirmed that the €40m of pension assets of AbbVie’s 600 former participants and pensioners were transferred to the United Pensions OFP at the end of last year.

Pensions accrual for its 325 active participants has been taking place at the Belgian multi-scheme since the start of 2015.

Until then, their pensions were housed at Pension Fund Abbott, the scheme of the former parent company, which was divided into medical product company Abbott and drug manufacturer AbbVie in 2011.

AbbVie is the first named participant in Aon Hewitt’s Brussels-based vehicle.

The consultancy said another scheme had also joined, and that four pension funds were awaiting supervisory approval.

Hans Rekker, client executive at Aon Hewitt, said AbbVie opted for the Belgian scheme due to the flexibility of its policy on investment and contributions.

United Pensions, with two-thirds of its portfolio invested in fixed income, is less defensive than the Abbott scheme, which had an 80% fixed income allocation at the end of 2014.

Belgian legislation offers pension funds more leeway for indexation, which can be granted at a funding ratio of 100%.

As a result, the AbbVie scheme was able to give its participants a one-off 3% inflation compensation as part of the rights transfer.

This boosted the coverage of the scheme to 115%, approximately 10 percentage points higher than under the Dutch rules.

An increasing number of multinational companies, including Aon, BP and DuPont, is considering relocating their Dutch pensions to Belgium.

In some cases, however, ‘work councils’ (ORs) are resisting such move due to governance and regulation concerns.

The Dutch pension funds of clearinghouse Euroclear and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson are among schemes that have been relocated to Belgium successfully.

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