Ballast Nedam shifts pensions accrual to BpfBouw
Construction company Ballast Nedam has placed pensions accrual for its 7,000 staff with BpfBOUW, the €54bn industry-wide fund for the construction sector.
In its annual report, the firm said it wanted to reduce its involvement with its pension fund in part due to its financial position.
The company lost €144m over the past two years, following a loss-making motorway reconstruction project near Rotterdam, and has been de-listed by its new owner, Turkish building firm Renaissance.
However, the current provider’s contribution levels also influenced Ballast Nedam’s decision. BpfBouw charges contributions of 20.2% for 2016, whereas the premium level of the company’s €1bn scheme stood at 25% last year - ahead of an expected increase in contributions due to falling interest rates.
In addition, new pension accrual at BpfBouw takes place under a funding ratio of 104.8%, whereas the Ballast Nedam scheme’s coverage was no more than 99.3% at June-end.
For the time being, the company’s current pension fund will manage the existing pension rights, while it is assessing its future.
According to Dick Vis, its chairman, the scheme is looking at the options of joining a general pension fund (APF).
He said, however, that it was in no hurry, and that continuing as an indepedent scheme was also possible.
In other news, the €323m pension fund of blinds manufacturer Hunter Douglas has said it is considering joining PME, the €44bn pension fund for the metal and electro-technical engineering industry.
In its annual report, it said that the employer has cancelled the contract for pensions provision with its pension fund, effective from the end of the current financial year.
According to the scheme, the decision was caused by the ever stricter supervisory rules, increased complexity of pensions as well as problems finding members for both its board and its accountability organ.
Clemens van Slingerland, the vice chair, said that the pension fund preferred joining PME and that it had already started exploratory discussions with PME.
He added that his scheme had also considered joining an APF or placing pensions with an insurer.
Last year, costs of pensions provision rose from €368 to €498 per participant, an increase the pension fund largely attributed to the introduction of the new financial assessment framework (nFTK).
The scheme also spent more than 1% of its assets on asset management, which is twice the average of the Dutch pensions sector.
At June-end, the pension fund’s coverage ratio was 101.8%.