BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is moving into the market for defined contribution (DC) pension provision in the Netherlands.

Marc van Heel, country manager for the Benelux area, told IPE sister publication IPNederland that BlackRock intended to launch a DC product before the end of the year.

The asset manager is currently exploring a possible collaboration with a partner specialising in benefits administration.

Van Heel declined to reveal which players BlackRock was speaking with, but he implied that talks were progressing well.

He added: “I can confirm that our plans have reached an advanced stage, and we believe we will launch a pension product before the end of this year.”

Van Heel pointed out that companies with operations in the Netherlands were switching increasingly from defined benefit to DC arrangements.

“This trend is gaining momentum as a result of the continuing uncertainty, increasing complexity and rising cost of defined benefit plans,” he said.

“This is a trend that cannot be reversed. For us, this creates opportunities.

“After all, BlackRock has a wealth of experience implementing DC plans in other countries. In addition, our office in the Netherlands has a lot of expertise, both on the retail and on the institutional side of the business.”

Although Van Heel was not at liberty to divulge any details at this point, he made a point of adding that BlackRock’s pension offering would not necessarily take the form of a PPI, the new Dutch DC pension vehicle.

“There are other ways to implement DC plans that might be better suited to the purpose,” he said.