NETHERLANDS - Dutch pensions regulator De Nederlandsche Bank has issued the first licence for the new cross-border pension vehicle PPI to pension provider BeFrank.

BeFrank - a joint venture between BinckBank and insurer Delta Lloyd - claims to be the first pension provider to offer workers and employers real-time insight into their pensions.

It said it would provide its online services at a very low cost, without charging commission or distribution costs.

A Premium Pension Institution (PPI) is a company offering a defined contribution (DC) plan for the accrual of additional pensions.

However, it is not allowed to bear insurance risk, and participants must take out a contract with an insurer for the benefits phase.

The new pension provider said it combined the online technology of BinckBank with the pension and investment expertise of insurer Delta Lloyd.

According to BeFrank, employers can opt for active investment or passive investment through index trackers.

In addition, they can let their employees invest through "reputable" investment funds, it said.

To allow pension certainty, the provider is offering risk-management solutions, such as through a pension 'stabilising fund'.

According to Folkert Pama, chief executive at BeFrank, almost a dozen companies have said they want to do business with the new pension provider.

However, all of the interested customers are Dutch companies, Maurice Piek, spokesman at BeFrank, added.

BeFrank has already lowered the threshold from 500 to 100 employees, as not only large but also average-sized companies are interested in its pension solutions, Pama said.

Koen Beentjes, executive chairman at BinckBank, said: "We expect a large change in the pension market, as the low costs will contribute to an increased pension accrual."

The new provider aims at collective DC plans and said it would also target pension funds and companies that were planning to change their pension arrangements to DC.

It also said its services would consist of asset accrual within the PPI as well as the provision of insurance through a mandate from Delta Lloyd.

Currently, the DNB still has to decide about five pending PPI applications.

Insurer Aegon and asset manager Robeco are among the companies awaiting decisions.