Dutch roundup: Brewer's pension fined for risk failings
The €200m pension fund of Dutch brewer Bavaria has been issued a €10,000 fine by supervisor DNB as it illegally raised its risk profile while it had a funding shortfall.
The watchdog said the scheme had dropped its interest rate hedge on its liabilities from 72% to 56% in 2014, while not reducing investment risk in other asset classes to compensate.
It described the issue as a “serious, long-lasting and culpable violation”, as underfunded schemes are not allowed to increase their risk profile.
The Pensioenfonds Bavaria has hardly benefited from the hedge reduction, which was meant to improve its position when interest rates rise. As the interest rate has dropped further during the past few years, the reduced hedge had a negative effect on returns, causing a loss of 1.2% over 2015.
Although the scheme’s board didn’t agree with the fine, it indicated that it would not appeal because of the ensuing costs as well as the fact that it is in a liquidation process.
Bavaria said the fine won’t affect the scheme’s financial position nor the collective value transfer to the general pension fund (APF) of insurer Centraal Beheer, scheduled for 1 April.
Elsewhere, SBZ, the €5.3bn pension fund for the care insurance sector, said 16 financial firms with approximately 400 workers joined during the past six months.
This fits its plan to grow in order to increase its sustainability. SBZ, a non-mandatory industry-wide pension fund, expects that larger companies will follow suit.
Last year, the pension fund said it would start looking actively for employers in the financial sector who could potentially join, as part of a policy similar to the strategy of funds such as PGB, PME, and PNO Media.
Adri van der Wurff, the scheme’s independent chairman, said that SBZ was in touch with banks as well as insurers.
Companies with relatively small schemes were keen to place them into larger entities elsewhere, van der Wurff said.
A new inflow would compensate for the falling number of active participants at SBZ, which loses approximately 5% of workers annually.
“This way, we can make sure that the costs per participant will remain the same,” explained Van der Wurff.
The pension funds that have joined SBZ are predominantly small insurers, with the 80-staff Zurich Benelux being the largest employer.
SBZ now services almost fifty employers, with 11,500 workers in total. Its funding stood at 105.9% at the end of 2016.