PGB, a €23.5bn ‘multi-sector’ pension fund in the Netherlands, has said it will continue to focus on achieving “controlled growth to benefit participants” despite the lack of clarity on the new pension system.

In its 2015 annual report, chairman Ruud Degenhardt said increasing PGB’s scale would allow it to reduce costs and negotiate better contracts with asset managers.

Added scale would also increase the scheme’s options for diversifying its investment portfolio.

Degenhardt said PGB would not need the new general pension fund (APF) to achieve its goal.

Over the last five years, PGB – initially the industry-wide pension fund for the printing sector – has taken in more than 10 schemes from other sectors, including the cardboard industry, the wholesale sector for flowers and plants and the maritime fishing industry.

The scheme for the rubber and plastics sector also recently joined.

PGB reported a return on investments of 4% but saw its net return drop to 1.4% after losses on its currency hedge.

It had covered 81% of its currency risk through forward contracts.

PGB reported asset management and transaction costs of 0.24% and 0.06%, respectively, and said it had spent €158 per participant on administration.

Its coverage ratio stood at 97.5% at the end of June.

In other news, Shell’s new individual defined contribution scheme (SNPS) said in its annual report that its sponsor was exploring its options for setting up a general pension fund (APF) for its two company schemes.

In 2013, Shell Netherlands closed its €25bn defined benefit scheme SSPF and started SNPS for new workers, which now manages €56m in assets.

With its plan, Shell becomes the second company to place its company schemes in an APF.

At the moment, Unilever is waiting for a license to operate a general pension funds for its closed DB scheme Progress and its new DC pension fund Forward.

Recently, Rob Kragten, director of both Unilever schemes, claimed APF legislation was not geared to transforming company pension funds into general pension funds, which had caused delay in the licensing process.