NETHERLANDS - Questions have been asked in the Dutch parliament about the merger between the PVK pension regulator and the central bank - though officials say the merger will go ahead.

Finance minister Gerrit Zalm has faced questions over the merger in the lower chamber, the Tweede Kamer.

At issue is the difference in the benefits package between board members of the Nederlansche Bank and the Pensioen- & Verzekeringskamer, the Pensions and Insurance Supervisory Authority, a central bank spokesman said. He said salaries at the PVK were lower than at the central bank due to its "more narrow task".

"This is Parliament so we take this very seriously," he said, but added: "We are already operating as an integrated institution. We're very confident that this will be resolved."

The two institutions are to have pooled resources by January 1 2005, according to the DNB website.

DNB president Nout Wellink said last month that the objective of the merger was "to further improve the supervision exercised on the financial system and the institutions which make up that system".

The "broadening and deepening" of the supervisory task would enable the combined organisation "make a fundamental contribution to financial stability in the Netherlands".

The DNB says: "The intention is not that the new supervisory authority will have a standard approach for every institution, because the differences between banks, insurers and pension funds are too great for this."