Dutch ICT firm Centric plans to take over AGH, the current provider for the pension funds for hairdressers, butchers and millers.

Alberto Jack, Centric’s commercial director, said the firm was in the due diligence phase and expected to complete the take-over in the first quarter of next year.

Centric, which already serves 225,000 participants and pensioners for seven pension funds, could add the trio of sector schemes to its roster with an additional 155,000 participants and pensioners.

AGH’s fourth pension fund client, the €1.7bn food trade scheme AVH, has separately decided to join the €29bn multi-sector pension fund PGB.

Jack said Centric’s aim is to keep on growing and to serve pension funds of any scale, but noted that his firm isn’t ready yet for the larger schemes.

He added that Centric expects to keep a lid on costs because of its in-house automation capabilities.

Last summer, Rijswijk-based AGH saw its stucture shaken as clients worried about its financial and organisational stability.

Alberto Jack at Centric

Alberto Jack at Centric

At the time, its affiliated schemes had to provide loans to improve AGH’s liquidity, while wondering whether the organisation would have sufficient scale to survive.

Its clients had also lodged complaints about the quality of its pensions provision.

Last year, three pension fund clients called for action, urging AGH to do the necessary to make sure all internal processes were delivered accordingly.

In their annual reports for 2017, the pension schemes referred to the conditional approval by an external auditor for the ISAE 3402 type II reporting, because of insufficiently implemented processes.

This led to the pensions funds carrying out additional checks themselves.

Gerard van de Kuilen, chair of the €1bn hairdresser scheme (Kappers), said he considered the take over plan as a positive development.

Both the pension fund for butchers (Slagers) and AGH declined to comment.

A press release issued by Centric quoted Peter Krul, AGH’s director, as saying that “Centric would offer the opportunity to guarantee our continuity and improve our service provision”.

Jack said that AGH’s 50 staff could join Centric in Gouda, but they would keep on operating from Rijswijk for the time being.

Centric, which started as pensions provider in 2017, serves the pension funds for the furnishing sector (Meubel), wood trade (Houthandel), concrete industry (Beton), travel sector (Reiswerk), hydraulic engineering (Waterbouw) as well as the Dutch company schemes of Thales and Yara.

Most of its clients had been taken over from provider Syntrus Achmea when it ceased its services to industry-wide pension funds.