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Syntrus Achmea in talks to offload eight sector-wide schemes

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Pensions provider Syntrus Achmea and IT firm Centric have confirmed that they are negotiating a collective transfer of the administration of eight sector-wide pension schemes.

The funds have been looking for a new administrator since last November, when Syntrus announced that it would cease servicing sector schemes within two years, as its IT systems were unable to cope with the multitude of pension arrangements.

If negotiations are successful, Gouda-based Centric could initially take over the existing systems and possibly staff as well, and improve efficiency at a later stage.

A collective transfer would also prevent a capacity shortage in the market for pensions provision. The pension funds are in a hurry, as some must leave Syntrus by January 2018.

Achmea, for its part, would incur fewer costs and would face an easier closing process for its administration if the negotiations are successful.

The pension funds involved are the schemes for the travel sector (Reiswerk), hairdressers (Kappers), dental technicians (Tandtechniek), concrete products (Betonproducten), the furnishing sector (Wonen), the meat industry (VLEP), the wood trade (Houthandel) as well as wood-processing industry and yacht building (Houtverwerkende industrie).

A number of schemes told IPE sister publication Pensioen Pro that they considered a collective transfer as an option, but that they were also in individual negotiations with other potential providers.

According to Frank Radstake, chairman of Reiswerk, completing a collective move in time was going to be a “hell of a job” because of the time pressure.

Radstake said he expected that Centric would also take on staff, as it doesn’t have in-house expertise for board support, actuarial matters, or communication.

Centric and Syntrus declined to provide additional details about the proposals.

The pension fund for the furniture industry (Meubel) has already moved its administration from Syntrus to Centric – the IT firm’s first client in the pension space.

The sector scheme for foodstuffs (Levensmiddelen) is to join provider AZL on 1 January, while StiPP, the pension fund for temporary workers, has chosen PGGM as its new administrator.

The industry-wide scheme for architects (Architectenbureaus) indicated that it had already made much progress in its negotiations with a provider.

The IT scheme TrueBlue as well as the sector funds for inland shipping (Rijn- en Binnenvaart), butchers (Slagers), private security (Particuliere Beveiliging), and millers (Molenaars) have already found new providers.

Hibin, the industry-wide scheme for the trade in building materials, has decided to implement its pensions administration in-house.

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