NETHERLANDS – Six Dutch pension funds due to move into shared offices in Rijswijk early next year have started investigations into the pooling of their assets in a move they claim could save them up to e2m per annum.

The funds, which together would have combined assets of around e5bn, include the Delft-based NLG4bn TNO pension fund for the Dutch policy research group.

Erik van Ballegoijen, director of the TNO scheme, says the fund will be moving into the new building on December 20, with the other funds following in January and February.”

“We are discussing at the moment a structure where we can pool the assets between the funds to the asset managers.”

He adds that with the overall pooling of of e5bn in assets the funds
could save “ a couple of million of euros a year.”
“ It is always possible in such a pooling system that you don’t pay VAT, which is already 20% of the fees.

Van Ballegoijen notes that the funds will still be legally separate:
“ We are talking about the possible legal structure where each fund keeps their own assets, but you can pool them still - so for the asset manager it will be one pool of assets. We are looking at this construction at the moment.
“ Then we can of course start to get a flavour of the discounts.”

The fund has just initiated talks with three lawyers from the different funds to investigate the possibilities of how to organise this.
And Van Ballegoijen states that the legal structure has to be completely clear – especially to convince the individual boards of trustees.

But he is optimistic that the pooling structure will be put in place:
“I would say so, because we can collaborate on a number of things such as administrative systems and a custodian.
“ But the largest profit can be gained if you start pooling your assets and everybody knows that when you start a collaboration like this you always have to invest a lot of money before you get something out and the basic things to get out is pooling assets.
“ The difficult part is to convince the board of trustees, because they don’t want to lose a part of their independence.”

He hopes that the review will be finished by the end of the year and that next year pooling of the assets may begin.

The pension funds involved in the pooling project are the Productschappen/Pensioenfonds SER & Bedrijfschappen (operating under PBO-Services soon), Stichting Sociaal Fonds voor het Baggerbedrijf in Nederland, Hollandsche Beton Groep's pension fund, Koninklijke Volker Wessels Stevin's pension fund, Peek & Cloppenburg's pension fund and TNO.