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Pension fund for Dutch agriculture changes name, targets mergers

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The €14.3bn pension fund for the Dutch agricultural sector – Bedrijfspensioenfonds voor de Landbouw – has changed its name to BPL Pensioen and announced its intention to attract pension funds from related industries.

Gerard Roest, BPL’s workers chairman, said the scheme would like to become the pension fund for the “green sector”.

“For a long time, our name has not fully covered what we stand for – horticulturists and agricultural contractors, for example, have been among our participants for decades.”

According to Roest, the pension fund has extended its target group to sectors that have a similar culture and labour market as the agricultural sector, such as cigar-manufacturing and vegetables and fruit-processing firms.

He said his scheme wanted to have more “clout” and increase efficiency through growth.

BPL, which has approximately 600,000 participants in total, absorbed four pension funds in 2015.

Together, they represented €880m of pension assets and 17,350 participants.

Among those schemes merging with BPL were the Dutch company pension funds of Heinz, flavourings producer Givaudan and butter maker Dairy Trading.

The industry-wide pension fund for the vegetable and fruit-processing sector, Groenten en Fruit, joined BPL as well.

BPL also recently took in the sector scheme for the cigar industry.

Roest said his scheme also hoped to accommodate pension schemes related to the trade in agricultural products and matching chains, including auction houses for agriculture and market gardening.

BPL is not in merger negotiations, however, with entire sectors, the chairman added.

As of the end of 2015, BPL had 105,000 active participants, 65,000 pensioners and 430,000 deferred members.

The scheme’s funding stood at 92.5% in November.

Last year, the €21.5bn pension fund for the graphics sector – Pensioenfonds voor Grafische Bedrijven – changed its name to Pensioenfonds PGB for similar reasons.

In the Netherlands, PGB has been known to take in pension funds from a range of sectors.

Over the past decade, it has absorbed 36 pension funds across industries ranging from rubber to cardboard and from financial service provision to wholesale flowers and plants.

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