Dutch pension manager APG is to launch a pension fund aimed at self-employed workers after reaching an agreement with four bodies representing the groups’ interests.

The announcement comes only weeks after Ton Berendsen, former member of the executive board at the €309bn civil service scheme ABP, said the Dutch pension system needed to reform to address the growing number of self-employed workers in the country, an area of reform also recently acknowledged by Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for Social Affairs.

The scheme, announced after the €359bn manager signed a letter of intent, will be launched by early next year and allow the workers – known colloquially as zzp’ers – to set their own premium rates and retirement age.

A spokesman for APG said the scheme would be “third pillar with collective elements”.

In a joint statement, FNV Zelfstandigen, PZO-ZZP, Zelfstandigen Bouw and Stichting ZZP Nederland noted that the fund would allow workers to access investments “at significantly lower cost than comparable individual products” – a likely reference to the individual insurance contracts the workers would otherwise be required to sign as part of their retirement provision.

They added they were confident APG would be able to put the new scheme in place by the beginning of next year.

While details of the scheme were not disclosed, the statement stressed that assets would be owned by the individual – key in the Dutch system recently accused of intergenerational unfairness, with younger workers potentially shoring up the pensions of retirees.

It is likely that APG will have its wholly owned subsidiary, Inadmin, carry out the administration of the DC scheme.

The establishment of a dedicated savings vehicle for zzp’ers comes after years of debate, as there is a limit to how long a worker can remain a member of an industry-wide scheme once he is no longer active within the industry.

Fieke van der Lecq, professor of pension markets at the Erasmus School of Economics, has previously called for the launch of a non-mandatory pension fund for zzp’ers.