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Netherlands roundup: SC Johnson pension fund to liquidate

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The €114m Dutch pension scheme for household cleaning products manufacturer SC Johnson is to liquidate.

The pension fund closed at the start of this year. Since then, new pensions accrual for its 280 workers has been through the low-cost defined contribution vehicle (PPI) of Zwitserleven.

SC Johnson outsourced its defined contribution (DC) plan to Zwitserleven in 2006. Zwitserleven guaranteed an annual return of 3%. The pension fund’s existing DC assets will also be placed with Zwitserleven against the guaranteed return.

Participants have been offered the option of also transferring their existing pension rights to the PPI, if they expect that the vehicle’s lifecycle investments will generate better returns than 3%.

SC Johnson has also renewed an insurance contract with Aegon, which covers the guaranteed pensions of a number of pensioners and deferred members.

A new pensions committee – with representatives of the employer, its works council, deferred members, and pensioners – is to monitor the new pension arrangements as well as the existing pension rights at Zwitserleven and Aegon.

Dentist fund switches to PFZW

Tandtechniek, the €762m pension fund for dental technicians, confirmed that it would place its existing pension rights and future pensions accrual with the €187bn healthcare scheme PFZW as of 1 January.

It said that, because of the difference in funding between both schemes, rights cuts would be likely. At May-end, PFZW’s coverage ratio was 93.4%, whereas the funding of Tandtechniek stood at 86.9%.

However, Tandtechniek also said contributions would fall from 30% to 24% under the new arrangement. In 2015, it had to increase premiums by 5.5 percentage points to 32.5%.

Tandtechniek has already had to apply rights cuts of 9% in total in the past few years.

Its board said that, before it took the decision to join PFZW, it had had discussions with other pension funds about co-operation. It had also looked into the option of joining a new general pension fund (APF) in an individual compartment.

SNS Reaal gains from interest rate hedge

The €3.3bn company scheme for SNS Reaal posted a result of 12.5% for 2016. In its annual report, the scheme attributed almost half of its profit to the effect of declining interest rates on its 77% interest hedge. It subsequently reduced this hedge to 71% at the start of 2017.

The Dutch bank’s pension fund said that it had incurred 0.35% of combined costs for asset management and transactions, citing its large fixed income portfolio and its passive equity investments with Actiam.

It further explained that it shunned expensive asset classes, such as commodities, hedge funds, and private equity.

According to the Pensioenfonds SNS Reaal, employers and unions were negotiating a new pensions contract. The employers already indicated a desire to continue the current collective DC plan.

The pension fund also implements pension arrangements for insurer Vivat and Volksbank in a contract that is to expire at the end of the year.

Last May, the scheme’s funding stood at 114.1%.

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