Akkermans expands base to Belgium
Pensions consultancy to education provider Akkermans Partner Group has expanded in to Belgium to bring its new ‘full service’ concept to the pensions marketplace there.
It has formed Akkermans Stroobants & Partners along with Karel Stroobants, previously of the VKG/CPM pension fund and Amonis in Brussels, and a former head of the Belgian Pension Fund Association
“There are perhaps 1m Belgian workers who are covered by an occupational pension plan,” says Nando Akkermans, managing director of the Tilburg based group ,“but the government wants to increase this to 3m.”
He has some doubts about how up to date the current providers are in the market, which provides an opening to the new venture.
“We will be making available state of the art back office software. We can bring our experience gained over the last seven years in the Netherlands to the Belgian market.”
When Akkermans learned about the new pensions law in Belgium, it researched the Belgian market. “We made contact with Karel Stroobants. We found our views coincided on the future developments and about starting up a business.”
The new operation Akkermans Stroobants is a new pensions service concept for the Belgian market, where the day-to-day operations will be run by Stroobants in Brussels.
“We just wanted to create a company in Belgium to make the
Vandenbroucke law a success,” says Stroobants. “If you have a question about pensions we can solve it.”
He adds the venture was a new concept that takes a “holistic view” of a pension fund.
There will be several product lines, including: business process outsourcing, training, temporary staff as well as a magazine, software and a database of pensions legislation.
Stroobants said the Belgian pension funds face “huge constraints” on the administration side – with up 3.4million possible individual accounts.
“That’s the market we want,” he added. “Outsource what you can but keep your autonomy.” The focus would initially be Belgium then possibly Luxembourg
Former Belgian pensions minister Freddy Willockx has joined the new consulting firm. He joins Belgian MP Eric Andre and former VKG finance director Carl Haeck at the new venture.
The Belgian operation is jointly owned by Stroobants and by Akkermans (see page 12).