NETHERLANDS - Stichting Pensioenfonds Medische Specialisten, the Dutch medical specialists' pension fund, has set up a professional pension organisation for medical specialists called Beroepsvereniging Medische Specialisten.

Jeroen Steenvoorden, the new director of SPMS and former director of the company pension fund association OPF, said the development is logical in the light of new legislation.

He also reiterated that the new situation makes it a necessity for an organisation like SPMS to convince its members of the positive aspects of a collective pension arrangement.

He stated also that SPMS is the first of 11 professional pension funds that has founded an independent foundation such as the BMS.

If SPMS does not receive the support of at least 60% of active medical specialists in the Netherlands, which will be given via the BMS, the collective pension arrangements will be history.

According to SPMS chairman Fons Vosmer, BMS will be able to reach 80% of listed active medical specialists. The main attraction of the set-up was that the fund has always been very healthy, with an average yield of 7% since conception.

The BMS will retain internal control of SPMS, appointing its members of the board. The SPMS board also will be accountable to a board of representatives, which is a part of BMS.

SPMS currently holds the pension arrangements for around 6,500 active medical specialists in the Netherlands and 5,000 pensioners. Total investment capital of the fund is around Û4.6bn.

The move comes amid changes to the collective pension arrangements for so-called independent professionals such as doctors, lawyers and pharmacists over the last few months.

The Dutch government has implemented a new law which makes gives professional employees the choice of taking out pension arrangements with an insurer or a pension fund.