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Alcatel-Lucent scheme granted leeway on liability transfer

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The €668m Dutch pension fund of IT firm Alcatel-Lucent has been granted extra time by supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) to transfer its pension liabilities to another provider, after the employer cancelled the contract for pensions provision with its own scheme.

Following a request by the pension fund, DNB decided that accrued benefits must be moved within six months of a settlement with the employer concerning an additional financial contribution to which the scheme claims to be entitled.

Alternatively, the fund must also complete the transfer within six months of a court verdict, in case a settlement cannot be agreed, the fund said in a statement.

The dispute between the scheme and the company arose after because the parties were unable to conclude a new contract for pensions provision. The employer terminated the contract in 2011, as it wanted to implement an alternative model.

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As Alcatel-Lucent cancelled the contract before the fund’s recovery plan was completed, it must now choose whether to join another scheme or complete a buyout with an insurer.

Meanwhile, the fund has also started looking into the possibility of employing an APF – the successor to the less successful API – which allows for the pooled management of pension assets, as an alternative pensions vehicle.

Last month, a court in The Hague heard the appeal between the pension fund and the employer about the damage the scheme claimed to have suffered from the company’s decision. 

At the end of 2012, the pension fund of Alcatel-Lucent had 43 active participants, 1,330 pensioners and 2,915 deferred members. It reported an annual return of 10,4%.

When asked by IPE, Jasper Koenhein, the scheme’s chairman, said he was unable to provide additional details immediately.

 

 

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