Textielverzorging, the €490m pension fund for the Dutch textile-cleaning sector, is to join MITT, the larger industry-wide scheme for fashion, carpets and textile. 

The announcement followed the recent decision by the Ministry of Social Affairs to lift the mandatory participation for employers in Textielverzorging.

Both pension funds had already indicated that they wanted to merge.

Textielverzorging – with almost 8,000 active participants and 2,300 pensioners – had been looking for an alternative for its reinsured arrangements with Centraal Beheer Achmea.

The contract expired at the end of 2015, and extending the scheme was unaffordable due to the increased contribution, according to the pension fund.

Textielverzorging, which has appointed Achmea Pensioen- & Levensverzekeringen as provider, made it clear that it would liquidate.

MITT currently manages €1.8bn in pension assets for 10,190 workers, 48,000 pensioners and 47,000 deferred members.

In other news, the €600m pension fund of publishing company Sanoma has announced that it will close for new entrants, and that new pensions accrual will occur at the €20bn PGB.

The closure of the Sanoma scheme comes in the wake of an unresolved dispute between the employer and pension fund over the starting points for establishing the contribution.

The employer wanted to introduce collective defined contribution arrangements with a maximum premium of 26%, with the contribution based on expected returns.

The pension fund, however, insisted on a premium level aimed at preventing rights cuts, and said the employer’s preferred outcome would lead to a funding drop.

The closed Sanoma scheme said it would continue independently for the time being.

Paul van Driessen, vice-chairman, said the board was weighing its options, including joining a new general pension fund (APF) or setting up such a vehicle with other pension funds.

“An APF can operate cheaper than a company pension fund,” he said.