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Syntrus Achmea to launch APF pensions vehicle

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Pensions provider Syntrus Achmea is to launch its own Algemeen Pensioenfonds (APF) to exploit new opportunities in the evolving Dutch pensions system, parent company Achmea has said in its 2014 annual report. 

An APF vehicle can implement various pension plans, enabling pension funds and employers to cooperate whilst allowing them to keep their own identity.

Schemes’ assets in an APF are ring-fenced.

The annual report also revealed that Syntrus Achmea wanted to transfer its third-pillar operation in Romania to insurer Aegon this year.

It had already offloaded its second-pillar operations in the country to the insurer last year. 

Achmea also indicated that it would develop “specific products” to help employers moving to defined contribution arrangements, noting that “quite a few” companies were still reluctant to abandon the “existing certainties” of defined benefit.

In its annual report, it also said Syntrus Achmea would now focus on streamlining and centralising operational processes and teams, with the ultimate aim of achieving a single process, system and location.

To minimise costs for its customers, improve its risk/return ratio and increase diversification of investments, Syntrus Achmea said it launched several new investment funds in 2014.

It added that it was working to reduce risk and complexity in pensions management – by withdrawing from a number of separate accounts to reduce the volatility of investment returns, for example. 

Syntrus Achmea saw its institutional assets under management increase by €16.8bn to €86.8bn.

It said new customers – including the industry-wide scheme for the dairy sector, as well as extended and expanded mandates for existing customers – had more than offset the departure of the large pension fund for the retail sector (Detailhandel).

Syntrus Achmea has more than 70 clients with approximately 2m participants in total.

The company covers 13% of the Dutch market for collective pensions and life insurance.

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