NETHERLANDS - Pension providers Mn Services and Syntrus Achmea intend to reach an agreement on merging the two companies within eight weeks, setting aside earlier shareholder issues.

A spokeswoman for Mn Services told IPE this morning the proportion of ownership will not any longer hinder to the deal, though no agreement on who will own the larger proportion has been reached.

Talks previously hit an impasse when both parties demanded the bigger share of 51% of a newly-merged company.

During talks last week, the executive boards of Mn Services, which manages around €65bn in pension assets against €78bn at Syntrus Achmea, decided to push on for a possible merger.

The spokeswoman added both parties will now enter into further discussions to come to a conclusion within the next eight weeks.

A joint venture between Mn Services and Syntrus Achmea would create the largest pension providers in the Netherlands in terms of participants and the number of corporate pension funds, as well as becoming the second-largest provider in terms of assets under management.

When the first round of talks was revealed in April, Mn Services said the merger prospect was triggered by a decision last year from the €22bn pension fund for the metal and electro-technical engineering industry (PME) to appoint Mn as its asset manager.

PME also said it was considering a transfer of its pension administration to Mn Services, which is also the asset manager and pensions provider for the €34.5bn pension fund for metalworking en mechanical engineering PMT.

But until last year, PME's asset manager and pension administrator was PVF Achmea, which has recently become part of Syntrus.

Syntrus Achmea is the recently-combined pension fund administrator arm of insurance groups Achmea and Interpolis, relaunched in January this year.

The new business combined PVF Achmea, Interpolis Pensions, Achmea and Interpolis' real estate arms, and Interpolis Pensions Asset Management, as a direct consequence of the Achmea/Interpolis merger last year.

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