NETHERLANDS - Keith Ambachtsheer, dubbed the Canadian pensions ‘guru', has saluted a policy which he identifies as the Dutch central bank pushing small pension funds into the arms of larger administrative entities.

Dutch-born Ambachtsheer said last night during the ALM 2008 conference in Amsterdam: "The Dutch central bank DNB does everything in their power to put small pension funds out of business."

According to Ambachtsheer, the DNB is up-to-date on developments within smaller pension fund, and conducts extensive research into the topic.

He added: "They are making it increasingly difficult for small pension funds to keep working as they are now, it is probably a policy, and you have to give them credit for it."

Ambachtsheer argued in his speech the development of large, previously dedicated pension funds, which are opening themselves up to cater for other business, is "an interesting development".

He predicts the trend of Netherlands-based pension funds merging will continue in the coming few years and would welcome such a development as he believes the benefits would be expertise and scale.

Ambachtsheer also warned consultants and other intermediaries, calling for pension funds to collaborate more globally, should work to cut out 'the middle man' intermediary in transactions such as infrastructure, for instance. "You can save yourself a lot of money," by cutting out the middle man, he argued.

Speaking about cost-effective delivery, Ambachtsheer said an agency element should be added upfront, arguing pension funds should consider closely what the potential is for agents, such as consultants, to get in the way and to take earnings they should not.

Officials at the DNB declined to comment on Ambachtsheer's claim.

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