NETHERLANDS - IT company Imtech has decided to liquidate its €234m pension fund in the Netherlands, with chairman Jos Graauwmans citing the growing challenge of meeting “new complex rules”.

He lamented the increased requirements for board members in particular, adding that pension funds’ implementation costs had been growing continually, and “at the expense” of pensions accrual.

The scheme will outsource the pension arrangements and accrued rights of its 1,790 active participants with PME and PMT, or a yet-to-be-decided insurer, depending on the branch at which the participants worked.

The Dutch pensions regulator (DNB) must still approve the plan, and the pension fund said it would select an insurer only after it had been given the green light.

The DNB has said it has no objection to a collective value transfer - pension funds cannot implement individual value transfers as long as their coverage ratios are below 100%.

In February, the Imtech scheme said it was facing a rights discount of 6-7% if its funding ratio of 91.9% failed to improve during 2012.

It said the anticipated cuts would be at least twice as large as previously expected, adding that its contributions would remain at 25% this year.

The scheme’s funding ratio was 95.8% at the end of May. It declined to provide its coverage ratio at June-end.

In March, the financial daily Financieele Dagblad reported that, around the turn of the century, the employer had skimmed off €36m from its pension fund, which had a generous funding at the time.

The assets taken from the scheme had been paid out as dividend to the company’s shareholders, the paper claimed.