The €600m Dutch pension fund of publishing company Sanoma is considering joining an APF general pension vehicle, relocating to Belgium or exploring other possible options for workers and pensioners.

On its website, the pension fund, closed to new entrants on 1 January, said a working group would look further into the three remaining options.

The scheme’s board said it did not intend to establish its own APF, preferring to join an existing one, either in a separated compartment or in a section combine with other schemes with a similar asset mix, risk attitude or indexation target.

Joining an APF, however, would be likely to reduce costs, it said, while the scheme’s assets would be ring-fenced.

Because Sanoma is also active in Belgium, the working group – assisted by consultancy Focus Orange – will also assess whether a cross-border pension plan would improve its participants’ pension prospects.

Several companies have opted recently to relocate their Dutch pension funds to Belgium.

The third possible alternative would be to place pension rights with an insurer, which, unlike with an APF, would rule out rights cuts. 

The working group concluded, however, that transferring all pensions to an insurer would be too costly and limit the potential for indexation.

It said it was aiming to complete its survey in the second quarter, and that it wanted to consult market players such as insurers during the next phase of its investigation.

The scheme’s board said it wanted to make a final choice this autumn, so as to be able to switch to new arrangements quickly – possibly as soon as next year.

Since January, Sanoma’s employees have been accruing their pension in a collective defined contribution plan with the €21.5bn Pensioenfonds PGB.