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De Eendragt scheme becomes life insurer

NETHERLANDS – Dutch corporate pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds De Eendragt has changed to a life insurance company called De Eendragt Pensioen NV with more than €950m in total assets under management.

The sole shareholder is the Stichting De Eendragt Pensioen foundation, the successor to the former scheme and holding company for De Eendragt Pensioen NV.

The new company - headed by chief executive officer Philip Menco and managing director Tom Nieuwenhuizen – provides collective pension schemes on a non-profit basis. Menco, former principal at consultant Fortunis, joined De Eendragt in 2004.

According to a statement by De Eendragt, a change in legal status, i.e. the move from a foundation to a public company, was essential.

De Eendragt looks after the pension schemes of roughly 18 different companies, which have no financial or fiscal connection. The new Pensions Act prohibits schemes of this kind.

In addition, the conversion to a life insurance company gives other businesses the opportunity to insure their pension schemes with De Eendragt Pensioen, said the company.

According to De Eendragt Menco: “The way in which the new company was born is unique in the Netherlands.”

Once the Dutch Central Bank issued an insurance licence – official notification was received on March 14 – all pension fund assets and liabilities were transferred to the new insurance company. At the same time, the foundation was transformed to a holding company for all the shares of the N.V.

The balanced composition of the board – employer and employee representatives in equal measure – remains unaffected.

Menco told IPE that De Eendragt is now “a full service company”.

“We offer everything that is needed to manage your pensions - administration, pension payments, the investment process and all the information services around it. We take care of the whole process for_clients.”

Australian PaperlinX (owner of the former paper wholesale activities of Buhrmann) and Van der Windt (a subsidiary of Clondalkin of Ireland) have already insured their pension schemes with De Eendragt since 2006, amounting to a combined € 65m. The number of insured employees subsequently rose by 35% as a result.

De Eendragt Pensioen currently insures the pensions of more than 11,000 participants of 18 companies. At the end of 2005, the coverage rate was over 155% on a 4% basis. The solvency ratio of the new insurance company is larger than 250%.

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