PWRI, the €6bn pension scheme for disabled workers in the Netherlands, must consider if staying independent will allow it to reach the long-term returns its beneficiaries require, according to chairman, Xander den Uyl.

The fund has previously spoken of the “considerable” financial damage caused by the Participation Act coming into force next year, which will aim to increase the participation of workers with disabilities.

Den Uyl said that it was unlikely the fund would see any new entrants in future.

“At present, the market is not best suited to a relatively small fund such as PWRI,” he told IPE.

“As a result, the fund is really looking at its future and asking itself if it is going to merge with other funds, or is it going to remain as a standalone, closed fund.

“You should really ask whether or not you can deliver the long-term return you are aiming for,” he added. “It’s quite a debate at the moment.”

Den Uyl also said the fund was considering its future involvement in private equity, an asset class in which it had so far only invested 2%.

“Our private equity is European small- and mid-caps, but could we not get the same kind of returns if we went into publicly listed small- and mid-cap funds?” he asked.

Frans Prins, the pension fund’s director, previously said that the scheme hoped to maintain its independence, but it calculated that contributions would need to rise above 40% of pensionable pay by 2050. The Dutch regulator DNB earlier this year contacted 60 local funds, asking them to reconsider their future as separate entities.

PWRI currently has 100,000 active participtants, 40,000 pensioners and a further 70,000 deferred members, with a coverage ratio in March above 110%.

For more on PWRI, see the upcoming May issue of IPE