Engineering firm Fluor wants to offload Dutch pension liabilities
Construction and engineering firm Fluor has indicated it wants to terminate the contract for pensions provision with its €460m Dutch pension fund, as it wishes to offload the liabilities from its balance sheet.
The employer - a subsidiary of US parent company Fluor - wanted to place pensions provision with an insurer, according to the pension fund’s annual report for 2016.
The pension fund, which implements a defined benefit plan, has already been closed to new entrants since 2014.
Its current pension plan is reinsured under a contract with Aegon, based on a separated investment depot, invested in Aegon funds and managed by Aegon Asset Management. Aegon is also pensions provider for the Fluor Pensioenfonds.
The scheme’s board said that, following its closure, the pension fund was expecting decreasing returns, as it had to reduce its risk profile as a consequence of its shortened investment horizon.
It added that administration costs – currently €674 per participant – would also rise.
Although the board made clear that it expected that the pension fund would ultimately cease to exist in its current set-up, it said it wanted to carry out an asset-liability management study in order to get clarity about the impact of a buy-out for its participants for the short term.
It made clear that new pensions accrual was likely to take place under defined contribution arrangements, and that this decision would be up to the employer and the works council.
The board said it had hired consultancy Triple A to support it in its negotiations with the employer and the works council.
The pension fund reported a net return of 10%, including almost 4 percentage points thanks to a 70% interest hedge.
With a return of 12.1% – an outperformance of almost 2.5 percentage points - commodities was its best returning asset class.
Worldwide equity generated 8.8% under a full currency hedge of dollar, pound and yen.
The scheme said that fixed income had yielded 5.6%, with Dutch residential mortgages producing almost 9%. Listed property gained 4.9%.
Global Tactical Asset Allocation returned almost 3.5%, falling 0.6 percentage points short of its benchmark.
As at the end of July, the Fluor Pensioenfonds was 108.8% funded.