NETHERLANDS - The €450m pension fund of FNVB, the trade union federation, has signed a deal to transfer its members and assets into the PfZW industry-wide healthcare scheme, and others are expected to follow in the near future.

The industry-wide Pensioenfonds FNV has approximately 1,500 active participants, 1,500 pensioners and 2,200 deferred members. It provides pensions not only for the staff of the group but also for employees of  16 affiliated bodies, including the FNV Bondgenoten, FNV Bouw, Nautilus Internationaal and FNV KIEM.

The FNV federation is an umbrella organisation as it has several union branches aimed at groups of workers, such as civil servants and builders. FNV's other union, Abvakabo, and its educational centre known as FNV Formaat have already joined the €84bn healthcare scheme.

"The main reason for joining PfZW is that such a large pension fund offers more security against significantly lower costs," stated officials at the Stichting Pensioenfonds FNV.

PfZW will provide the pensions of the FNV staff from 1 January 2010.

However, Peter Borgdorff, director at PfZW, said the FNV scheme is just one of several schemes expected to join PfZW soon.

"We have reached an agreement with the pension fund of CNV union Publieke Zaak, and we are having discussions with other unions affiliated to the CNV group," he said.

"We are also expecting to sign a contract with the vicars' pension fund of the Nederlandse Gereformeerde Kerk," added Borgdorff.

"Forced by increasing regulation, many smaller pension funds are seeking to join a larger scheme with a similar culture," the PfZW director pointed out, adding that schemes are approaching PfZW as his pension fund team is not actively acquiring new external members.

"If schemes approach us, we are more than happy to make them an offer. New participants help to give us more clout," he added.