Variable pay at the €182bn asset manager PGGM dropped from €25,000 to €21,000 on average last year, according to its 2015 annual report.

It said it had – with a few exceptions – capped bonuses at 20% of the regular salary, the maximum for the financial sector as set by the Dutch government.

In 2015, it paid 16% of combined salaries as variable remuneration, down from 24% the previous year.

Almost 13% of its 1,311 staff qualified for a bonus.

PGGM, asset manager for the €172bn healthcare scheme PFZW, said it raised the salary of a number of staff while halving their variable pay.

At APG, the €417bn asset manager for the large civil service pension fund ABP, bonuses are three times higher on average, due largely to its 147 asset managers in its New York and Hong Kong offices.

Together, they receive 70% of the variable pay at APG.

In other news, financial news daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported that giving pension fund participants a free choice of provider often leads to higher costs.

It cited an international survey by the Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), which also concluded that participants hardly changed providers and usually picked the default option.

This also applies to countries such as Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Sweden, the CPB said.

According to the CPB, provision costs in the UK and Australia increased due to the large number of commercial providers.

It said the benefits of scale were not used sufficiently and that the market was not transparent.

Lastly, regulator De Nederlandsche Bank has granted CentraalBeheer– a subsidiary of Achmea Group – a licence to operate a general pension fund (APF).

The new low-cost vehicle can run defined benefit and defined contribution plans with ring-fenced assets under a single board.

The foundation is governed by an independent, three-strong board chaired by Huub Hannen.

The administration of participating pension schemes is to be carried out by Centraal Beheer, while assets are to be managed by Achmea Investment Management.