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Nordic roundup: DIP/JØP administration merger, KLP

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Two of Denmark’s labour-market pension funds for professionals – engineers’ fund DIP and lawyers and economists’ fund JØP – are merging their administrative operations to cut costs.

The pension funds said they would put all of their administration together into one joint organisation covering their 76,000 members, from 15 June this year.

DIP has more than DKK35bn (€4.7bn) in assets under management, while JØP has more than DKK65bn.

Anders Eldrup, chairman of JØP’s trustee board, said: “The amalgamation will give our members an even better pension scheme.”

He said that, together, the two pension funds would be the best joint provider in the growing market for academic sector pension funds.

“This is a proactive cooperation, which will contribute to the consolidation in the market and give the best offering to members in terms of investments, products and services,” he said.

Members of DIP and JØP will continue to belong to the two independent pension funds and keep their savings and investments within those funds, the two parties said.

The funds will also continue to have their own trustee boards, assets and customer identities.

Two years ago, DIP and JØP merged their investment operations, saying the move was a natural consequence of their close cooperation with each other over many years.

The single investment department has since been led by the heads of both pension funds.

In 2006, the two pension funds moved into the same building and, some time after that, started to use a single system for all their members.

In other news, Norwegian public service pension fund KLP reported a 100% rise in contributions last year after municipalities continued to transfer their pensions to the scheme.

Contributions – excluding reserves that had been transferred into the scheme – climbed to NOK62.5bn (€7.2bn) in 2014 from NOK30.9bn the year before.

Sverre Thornes, group chief executive, said: “It has been difficult to accept such a large inflow as we had in 2014, and so it’s gratifying the feedback from our customers is good.”

In all, the transfers will mean an increase in premium reserves of NOK30bn and 156,000 additional pension scheme members, KLP said.

KLP’s business is continuing to swell as a result of moves by Storebrand and DnB Livsforsikring to withdraw from the Norwegian public occupational pensions market.

This has left KLP as the only provider in the sector, although Norwegian public bodies do have the option of setting up their own pension funds for their staff.

KLP said that, in 2014, a total of 58 local authorities and 203 public businesses had transferred their pensions to it.

So far this year, a further 15 municipalities transferred in, which means KLP now has 418 of Norway’s 446 municipalities and counties as public sector earnings-related pension customers.

The pension fund posted a book return of 4.3% for 2014, down from 6.4% in 2013, and a value-adjusted return of 6.9%, up from 6.7%.

Shares, traded bonds and property were the main contributors to the returns.

Equities produced a 13% return in the year, while traded bonds generated a return of 8.4% and property returned 6.9%.

Group assets under management rose to NOK491bn by the end of December 2014, from NOK399bn.

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