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Netherlands roundup: AFM to transfer pensions to De Nationale APF

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The Netherlands’ communication watchdog Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM) is to transfer its pension arrangements to the general pension fund De Nationale APF.

As of 1 January 2018, the pensions of the approximately 1,000 participants and pensioners will be housed with the new pensions vehicle, established by asset manager NN Investment Partners and pensions administrator AZL.

The pension fund is to bring in €185m of assets to De Nationale, with the assets being kept in a dedicated compartment for the AFM with its individual policy as well as ring-fenced assets.

The regulator said it had opted for De Nationale APF following a tender under EU rules. One of the criteria was that its current pension plan would remain largely unchanged, and that its accrued pension rights would also be managed by the general pension fund.

According to the sponsor, joining De Nationale APF would not only mean lower costs, but also a more solid pensions provision.

The AFM’s pension fund is to be liquidated once the transfer to De Nationale APF is complete.

Currently, Blue Sky Group carries out the scheme’s administration, while BlackRock manages its assets.

In 2014, the AFM established its own pension fund, following the break up of Mercurius Amsterdam, a pension fund for the financial sector, which previously managed the AFM’s pensions.

However, in 2015, the AFM scheme reported high costs relative to other pension funds in the Netherlands: €734 per participant for administration and 0.88% for asset management.

An effort to set up a joint general pension fund with fellow supervisor DNB was abandoned after DNB concluded that it saw no need for such a co-operation for the time being.

Recently, SPUN, the Dutch pension fund of IT firm Unisys, announced that it would join De Nationale APF.

Earlier, AZL placed its own pensions with the general scheme, as did the Dutch pension fund of chips producer McCain.

Including the AFM pensions, De Nationale APF is to manage approximately €935m of pension assets in total.

Kempen to open Paris office

Asset manager Kempen Capital Management has announced that it will open an office in Paris.

It said this was a logical step given the increasing number of institutional clients in France, including pension scheme Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR).

Vuk Srdanovic, international business development manager for the French market, said that French institutional investors had shown a strong interest in Kempen’s niche strategies during the past years.

“Our local presence in Paris would allow us to extend our current relationships as well as attract new clients,” Srdanovic added.

Lars Dijkstra, Kempen’s chief investment officer, said France had been an important market for Kempen for years.

Currently, Kempen has offices in Amsterdam, London and Edinburgh.

Kempen offers fiduciary management for pension funds, insurers and the low-cost Dutch defined contribution vehicle PPI, as well as other asset management services to institutional investors.

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