The €1.4bn Nedlloyd Pensioenfonds (NPF) is seeking collaborations with similar-sized schemes in order to drive down costs and further improve its services.

NPF, the Dutch pension fund of shipping firm Maersk, wants to continue independently, at least for the time being, said director Frans Dooren.

He said NPF had already conducted “exploratory” discussions at board or pension provision level with six pension funds.

“We could, for example, jointly look for members of a supervisory board, which is also to become mandatory for company pension funds with assets of more than €1bn,” the director said.

Currently, NPF uses a ‘visitation’ committee, which assesses the scheme annually.

Other areas for potential collaboration included investment, board support, and actuarial or legal services, the pension fund said.

Dooren stressed that NPF was in no hurry to strike deals and therefore didn’t aim at a merger with another scheme or participation in a general pension fund (APF). This is despite the Dutch regulator’s ongoing drive for consolidation among pension funds.

“We could easily continue independently for five or 10 years,” he said.

The large proportion of pensioners, combined with the scheme’s current funding ratio of 119%, would ensure sufficient solvency following a drop in liabilities, Dooren pointed out.

Nedlloyd kicked off the search for collaborators last year, organising a roundtable meeting about co-operation with trustees of 15 pension funds. The meeting was jointly organised with asset manager Robeco, which implements NPF’s innovative individual pension arrangements.

Two years ago, the Nedlloyd scheme won wide recognition within the sector for the introduction of a new defined contribution plan, which enables participants to switch from individual DC to the scheme’s collective pension plan at any age. With the new scheme, NPF was ahead of the legal arrangements which allow retiring participants to continue investing part of their pension assets.