NETHERLANDS - The €300m company pension fund for the company Mediq has fully merged with the €1.2bn industry-wide scheme for Dutch pharmacists’ assistants (PMA) in a bid to lessen its “vulnerability”.

The pension fund for the medical accessory and pharmaceuticals provider - which has 4,500 participants compared with the PMA’s 39,000 - also said it hoped to “minimise” its financial risks.

The Mediq pension scheme had a coverage ratio of 103.9% at year-end, while PMA’s funding was 99.1%. However, PMA’s proportion of active participants (61%) is much higher than Mediq’s (28%), the company pointed out.

Mediq said its participants would accrue a “considerably larger” pension at the PMA, adding that two-thirds of its staff were already participating in the larger scheme.

Mediq said it would pay a maximum of €8.6m for transfer costs, mainly to offset inflation. It will also make €1.4m available to participants over the next five years to compensate for the higher contribution at the PMA.

The merger is part of an ongoing trend of consolidation within the Dutch pensions sector, which, over the last three years, has seen the total number of schemes drop from more than 630 to fewer than 450.

The number of company pension funds showed the sharpest drop - from 526 to 353 - as schemes joined larger pension funds or placed their pension arrangements with an insurer.