Slagers, the €2.2bn industry-wide pension scheme for butchers in the Netherlands, is to transfer its mandate for pensions provision from Syntrus Achmea to AGH.

Wim van den Brink, the scheme’s chairman, said AGH’s relatively small scale had tipped the balance in its favour, as Slagers expected its service would better address employers’ demands. 

“Many of our 2,500 employers are small ones that would like to get personal service,” he said.

Rijswijk-based AGH services four pension funds, including the schemes for the spirits sector and the agricultural and food trade, with 87,000 participants in total.

Slagers, which had been a long-time client of Syntrus Achmea Pensioenbeheer, was dissatisfied with the lack of flexibility in Syntrus’s IT system, according to Van den Brink, who declined to provide further details.

Last June, Syntrus Achmea said it was aiming to harmonise its clients’ pension plans to simplify implementation and reduce the number of mistakes.

Van den Brink said his scheme had shortlisted four providers, including Syntrus, and that its main criteria were quality, reliability and system flexibility.

With the butchers pension scheme as a new client, the number of participants served by AGH is almost to double to 158,000.

As a consequence, AGH is to increase the number of staff from 37 to 45.

Erik Martens, its director, said the company aimed to attract two more similarly sized schemes over the next five years, giving the provider “a stable base for the long term”.

Syntrus has lost several other clients recently, including the schemes for the confectionary industry (Zoetwaren), the wheels and tyres sector and public sector employees in the Caribbean Netherlands.

Willis Towers Watson’s low-cost DC vehicle also left, arguing that Syntrus had failed to deliver its participants portal in time.

In addition, Syntrus cancelled its contract with the €300m IT sector scheme TrueBlue, citing the pension scheme’s complicated arrangements in combination with its relatively small scale.