The €900m Dutch pension fund of oil and gas company BP has said it is seriously considering joining the company’s Belgium-based, pan-European scheme at the request of its sponsor. 

In the pension fund’s latest newsletter, trustee Paul Koole said such a move would cut costs and increase efficiency for the energy giant’s Dutch pension arrangements.

“As a European scheme, the BP pension plan would be less affected by increased financial buffers, as prescribed by the new financial assessment framework,” he said.

In addition, joining a pan-European pension fund will also have a positive impact on the board’s level of expertise, Koole said. 

The Stichting Pensioenfonds BP stressed that the pan-European scheme would fully implement the Dutch pension plans as they stand at the moment – both for pensions accrual and accrued pension rights.

BP has already housed several European pension plans in its OFP in Belgium.

Commenting on the pension fund’s potential move, DNB spokesman Ben Feiertag said it would be too easy to conclude the new financial assessment framework (FTK) would be stricter than the “more principle-based” supervisory framework in Belgium.

“In Belgium, the sponsor’s commitment is crucial, whereas this issue is less important in the Netherlands, as pension funds must always be able to stand on their own legs,” he said.

Last year, the Dutch pension fund returned 0.5% on investments.

Over the same period, it spent €501 per participant on administration and 0.49% of its assets on combined asset management and transactions.

The pension fund also announced that it terminated its asset management contract with AXA Investment Partners in November, as part of plans to simplify its investment policy.

Since then, the scheme’s asset management has been carried out by the remaining asset managers BlackRock and BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

The pension fund, thanks to a voluntary additional contribution of €32.5m by the employer, was able to increase the pension rights of its active participants by 2.5% this year, while also granting an indexation in arrears of 0.27%.

Deferred members and pensioners received inflation compensation of 2.5%.

BP’s Dutch pension fund has approximately 4,300 participants in total.