The pensions plan of the Dutch branch of Euroclear is to relocate to Belgium, the clearinghouse has confirmed to IPE.
The pension rights of almost 150 participants of the Amsterdam-based branch are to be placed with the pension fund of the company’s headquarters in Brussels as of 1 January 2014.
Euroclear’s €146m Belgian pension fund, with 4,200 participants, will be transformed into a pan-European scheme modelled as an OFP.
Euroclear is one of five financial services companies participating in the pension fund Mercurius (PMA), which recently announced that it would liquidate itself.
The decision followed the companies’ rejection of contract extensions with the €269m pension fund due to “disappointing” results.
PMA’s coverage ratio is approximately 97%.
According to Annelies Bruyninckx, Euroclear’s director of compensation and benefits, the assets of the Dutch office are to be ringfenced, and become subject to supervision from the Belgian regulator FSMA.
“However, Dutch rules will remain in place for the labour conditions linked with the pension arrangements,” she said, adding that a representative from the Amsterdam branch would join the Belgian scheme’s board.
Bruyninckx also said the Dutch staff of Euroclear could continue their defined benefit plan under similar conditions at the Belgian scheme, which has a funding of approximately 130%.
However, the scale of the assets to be transferred to Belgium still needs to be verified.
Because the pension assets of Mercurius were not kept separate – all participating companies originated from the firm Amsterdam Exchanges – consultations on the issue will be required, according to Hugo Spanjer, country manager for Euroclear in the Netherlands.
He said to the value transfer, which Mercurius’s board has already granted, could be completed on 1 January.
Spanjer stressed that the staff representatives of the Amsterdam branch fully support the plans.