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Dutch roundup: Blue Sky, Zwitserleven, SNS Reaal, ASR, Chevron

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The €2.7bn pension fund of banc-assurer SNS Reaal has replaced its pensions provider, SNS Reaal subsidiary Zwitserleven, with Blue Sky Group, pensions provider for the large KLM pension funds.

Eelco Blauw, the scheme’s director, cited changing legislation as the chief reason for the decision.

“Legal requirements for pension funds increasingly differ from those for insured pension arrangements,” he said.

“Our scheme was the only uninsured one with Zwitserleven, which mainly focuses on insured pension plans.”

A search – supported by consultant PwC – for a new provider concluded that Blue Sky Group offered the best “price-quality ratio”, as it specialises in non-insured company pension funds, the scheme’s board said.

A spokesman for Zwitserleven said the insurer was disappointed about the pension fund’s decisions and that it had submitted a “market-consistent quote based on its specification”.

“However, it has indicated that other providers had a better proposition on board support,” he said.

According to the scheme’s board, costs at Blue Sky Group – including costs for actuaries and accountants – would be lower.

In other news, the €370m pension fund of energy giant Chevron is to liquidate itself and transfer pension rights to insurer ASR.

Pensions accrual will now occur in a new external defined contribution plan.

Because Chevron has scaled back its activities in the Netherlands substantially, no more than 100 workers are to participate in the new scheme, it said.

According to Kees Klink, the pension fund’s chairman, the drop in the number of active participants triggered the scheme’s liquidation.

The Pensioenfonds Chevron was among the few remaining scheme’s with final salary arrangements.

Thanks to a coverage ratio of 127% at the scheme, the board has been able to negotiate a deal with ASR where participants will be granted ongoing indexation based on the European consumer index, in addition to a one-off, partial compensation for indexation in arrears.

“Under the new financial assessment framework, the latter would have been very difficult,” Klink added.

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