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Chemical company scheme to join Centraal Beheer’s general pension fund

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The €173m Dutch company pension fund Cindu is to transfer its assets and liabilities to the general pension fund (APF) of insurer Centraal Beheer.

Its decision followed the conclusion of supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) last year that the scheme was “vulnerable” because of ageing demographics and difficulties finding new board members.

At the Centraal Beheer AFP, the Cindu scheme – set up by company Chemische Industry Uithoorn, which was taken over by Rütgers Resins in 2011 – is to be the first participant in the multi-client compartment.

The decision to join Centraal Beheer APF is subject to approval of the pension fund’s accountability board (VO) as well as the supervisor. The scheme said it aimed to complete the transfer in the fourth quarter and to subsequently liquidate the rest of its operations in 2019.

The ring-fenced section will be entirely tuned to the current situation at the Pensioenfonds Cindu, including its investment policy with 70% fixed income holdings, as well as its contribution policy, said Rita van Ewijk, the scheme’s chair.

The pension fund opted not to join one of the APF’s three standard defined-benefit compartments, as chosen by earlier pension fund clients RBS Netherlands and Bavaria, which preferred individual arrangements.

RBS was the first Dutch scheme to join an APF, a form of pension consolidation vehicle, announcing its plan in September 2016.

The compartment containing the Cindu scheme is open to new entrants to generate benefits of scale. This would also counter the effect of an ageing member population, Van Ewijk said.

However, she also emphasised that other schemes joining its section would not come at the expense of Pensioenfonds Cindu.

Last year, Cindu decided to join an APF under pressure from DNB. Governance problems had triggered the regulator’s demand for “controlled and honest” management.

In order to continue independently, the pension fund faced high costs for professionalising its operations, while other costs would also rise as a result of a decreasing number of active members.

At the end of 2017, Pensioenfonds Cindu had more than 1,500 members, almost 1,000 of whom were pensioners but just 71 active. At the time, its funding stood at 121.4%.

It cited “the leeway for establishing a compartment together with Centraal Beheer APF” as the decisive factor to opt for the vehicle.

It described the new set up as “balance between tailor-made and standard arrangements” against controlled costs.

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