Seven industry-wide pension funds in the Netherlands, including PWRI (the scheme for workers with a disability) and Levensmiddelen (grocery workers) have lowered the amount by which they reduce pension accrual to offset the state pension (AOW).

In doing so, the schemes have slightly softened the effects of the increase in the standard retirement age.

An inventory of changes in the schemes collated by daily newspaper FD and IPE’s sister title Pensioen Pro revealed the reductions.

The industry schemes Meubel (furniture workers), SBZ (health insurers) and Beton (concrete workers) also lowered their state pension offset. Metal inudstry funds PME and PMT planned to decrease their offset as well, but this is part of an earlier plan to gradually reduce the offset.

The AOW-offset is a fiscal measure to reduce pension accrual by the amount of salary already covered by the state pension. The lower the AOW-offset, the higher the pension base on which employees accrue their pensions. Pension funds are free to determine the offset level in their pension provision, within certain tax limits.

The health insurers’ scheme SBZ said that unions wanted to keep the extra pension accrual within the scheme, and employers agreed. One of the considerations was to use the extra pension to stop working earlier than the current retirement age in the Netherlands of 68 years.

PWRI has one of the lowest state pension offsets among the industry-wide funds. 

Mercer scheme to outsource administration

The company pension fund of Mercer Netherlands said it would outsource its pensions administration and board support to Appel Pensioenuitvoering.

Until now, the Mercer scheme has carried out pensions administration in-house. 

Current clients of Almere-based Appel Pensioenuitvoering include the company pension funds of Cindu International and Coram as well as the scheme of sport accommodations manager Sportfondsen.

APG picks Topicus for individual administration

APG, the €456bn asset manager and pensions provider of the civil service scheme ABP, has selected Dutch software firm Topicus for the administration of participants’ individual pension capital arrangements, which include non-tax-facilitated “net pensions”.

The ICT company has clients in the care, government, education and financial sectors.

Topicus has offices in Deventer, Zwolle, Enschede and Groningen.

Robeco to outsource operations to JP Morgan

Robeco is to outsource part of its operations and administration activities to JP Morgan. The €152bn asset manager said the decision was part of its strategic plan for 2017-21, which envisages further international growth in both investment and client-servicing activities.

JP Morgan would become Robeco’s service provider for fund accounting, operations, custody, depository, transfer agency and securities lending.

It said the outsourcing process could take up to two years to complete and would make approximately 70 Rotterdam-based employees redundant.

The asset manager added that JP Morgan’s global network would provide operations activities in multiple locations and time zones, “enabling a smarter deployment of Robeco’s global trading support activities”.

It emphasised that the outsourcing of operations would not lead to changes in investment policies, teams or client portfolio management.

“Outsourcing is the prevailing trend in the industry,” said Gilbert van Hassel, chief executive of Robeco. “As a consequence of the global playing field and increasing complexity, asset managers need a specialised operations provider with a global presence.”