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Dutch roundup: Dentists' scheme eyes tie-up with PFZW

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Employer organisations and unions of the ailing sector scheme for dental technicians (Tandtechniek) said they preferred to place further pensions accrual with the €182bn healthcare scheme PFZW.

According to the pension fund, employers and unions were consulting their members about such a switch.

If they agree, the €800m Tandtechniek, which had a funding of just 84.8% at the end of February, would continue as a closed scheme managing existing pension rights.

Rob van Leeuwen, chairman of the pension fund, however, said that its board was also assessing other options, including continuing as an independent scheme for the time being.

“Ideally, we would like to keep both pensions accrual and existing rights together,” he told IPE.

Placing existing pension rights with PFZW or another pension fund means that the dental technicians’ scheme must apply cuts, which depend on the difference in funding between the two schemes.

At the end of February, funding of the healthcare scheme stood at 91.6%.

Van Leeuwen indicated that the board was in talks with three schemes about potential partnerships. Placing pensions with a general pension fund (APF) was another option considered by the board, he said.

According to the chairman, the board aimed to transfer pensions accrual on 1 January 2018 and that it wanted clarity before 1 July, ‘as the ministry for Social Affairs also had to approve new accrual elsewhere, to continue the mandatory participation of employers”.

Earlier this year, Tandtechniek still assumed it had to apply rights cuts of 0.16% this year, following two discounts of 9% in total during the past years.

In 2015, it raised its contribution by 5.5 percentage points to 32.5%. During the same year, its administration costs per member rose from €217 to €330.

According to Van Leeuwen, the sector scheme, which is one of the industry-wide pension funds that have to leave provider Syntrus Achmea, had not yet made a decision about a new provider.

While acknowledging that PGGM – the provider for PFZW – could be a suitable alternative, Van Leeuwen said that a collective administration transfer to Centric, as is being negotiated by Syntrus at the moment, would offer Tandtechniek some respite.

“In this case, the entire pensions administration could remain with Centric,” he pointed out.

Tandtechniek’s contract with Syntrus expires at year-end.

Consultant seeks to bring robo-advice to Netherlands

Dutch consultant Floreijn Groep has sold a minority stake to Swedish financial service provider Söderberg & Partners.

It said it expected to benefit from Scandinavian expertise and “robo-advice” technology to individual workers in pension schemes.

“The Scandinavian market is ahead on individual pensions advising, as the Nordic countries made the switch from defined benefit to defined contribution several years ago,” said Theo Stam, director of Floreijn. “We see the Dutch market heading in the same direction.”

According to Stam, Söderberg had developed efficient advisory services for individual pensions accrual, and the Swedish firm could, with their robot technology, add an important IT element to Floreijn’s advisory services.

He said he saw potential for robo-advice to provide preparatory work for individual advice.

“A robot could be deployed for gathering and interpreting financial data and, ultimately, even deliver advice,” Stam said. “This enables us to reduce advisory costs, which people are seldom willing to pay anyway, by at least 80%. Any remaining tailor-made advice could be provided during a personal conversation.”

Stam said Floreijn was still assessing how it could deploy robo-advisers for individual investment advice.

He indicated that, in principle, his company could use Söderberg’s large investment analysis department, which monitors 4,700 investment funds.

Gouda and Rotterdam-based Floreijn targets employers with a pension fund or insured pension arrangements with services that include communication strategy.

Söderberg said its strategic co-operation with Floreijn offered an opportunity to introduce its technology outside Scandinavia, adding that it intended to grow through its robo-advice and investment services.

L&G completes sale of Dutch business

Legal & General (L&G) has completed the sale of its Netherlands business to Chesnara for €161m.

Initially announced in November 2016, the sale is part of the UK-headquartered financial services giant’s plan to “dispose of non-core businesses”, it said in a statement.

L&G Netherlands was founded in 1984 and has its main office in Hilversum. It runs roughly €2.1bn in assets, predominantly for retail clients.

Chesnara is a UK-based consolidator company focused on the life insurance sector.

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