DENMARK – Danish pension funds Juristernes og Økonomernes Pensionskasse (JØP) and Danske civil- og akademiingeniørers Pensionskasse (DIP) are merging their investment operations.

The move builds on several years of close cooperation and will create a single investment department managing more than DKK85bn (€11.4bn) in assets, the two pension funds said.

JØP is the pension fund for lawyers and economists, and DIP runs pensions for Danish civil and academic engineers.

Torben Visholm, director at JØP said: “Our task is to secure the best possible return for members. By having a joint investment operation, we are making sure we have lower investment costs and increased knowledge.”

He said the departmental merger was a natural consequence of the two funds’ close cooperation over a many years.

The funds said the new cooperation between them was expected to increase the chances of maintaining good, long-term investment returns.

The cooperation would also give them reduced costs from external managers as a result of the larger volumes, they said.

The funds said the merger would make JØP and DIP more effective by harmonising investment strategies and standardising administrative work and reporting, among other things.

The new joint investment department will be led by the current heads of investment from both pension funds – Jacob Hübertz for DIP’s trustees and Ricco Hagenflindt for the JØP trustee board.

DIP has around 21,000 members and total assets of DKK32bn, while JØP has 47,000 members and DKK54bn in assets.

In other news, blue-collar workers’ pension fund Industriens Pension said it cut costs by 7% last year through digitalisation and improvement of work processes.

In 2013, Industriens Pension said it would spend DKK10m less on costs.

Laila Mortensen, managing director of the DKK100bn pension fund, said: “Our IT solution makes it relatively simple to adjust pension plans. This is why we were able to launch our new lifestyle product and keep development costs down.”

The fund said more than 100,000 of its members now received their letters by email or could access them from the website using the NemID Danish digital signature system.

It said the self-service package meant members and employers could now deal with nearly everything via the Industriens Pensions website.

“We have also simplified many work processes, so we can complete most tasks immediately when members call us,” Mortensen said.

This has allowed the fund to reduce enquiry times, improve service and save a lot of money, all of which gave members higher pensions in the end, she said.