Landmark case points funds to insurance arena
NETHERLANDS - A Dutch court has ruled that pension funds turned asset managers can continue working under the same name.
Following the ruling, insurers have called for an urgent reform of the entire insurance market.
The €86.3bn PFZW, the pension fund formerly known as PGGM, which caters for the healthcare sector, announced today that it has won its appeal against the Dutch association of insurance companies, Verbond van Verzekeraars.
PFZW - previously known as PGGM - was taken to court by the association because it claimed using the pension fund brand for its administration operation was unfair to competition.
However, the court decided the transfer of the name PGGM from the pension fund - which only recently had the name change to PFZW - to its new investment manager is lawful.
Peter Borgdorff, director of PFZW, commented on the ruling: "We see the ruling as a judicial reconfirmation of our choice to transfer the name PGGM to the administrative body."
In an interview with IPE today, the association said now that pension funds are entering the insurance arena, a reform of the insurance market is necessary "to create a level playing field".
Asked if the dispute constitutes the much-debated internal competition within the Dutch finance sector, a spokesman for the insurance association stressed the court case was not about competition: "In this case it is a business dispute on judicial grounds, and not a quarrel between old and new market participants."
Holland Financial Centre (HFC) - set up to promote Holland as a financial centre of excellence - has called already several times this year for a departure from "internal competition" within the Dutch pension and insurance sector.
Akkie Lansberg, chief executive of HFC, said in a speech earlier this year: "Where we are competing, we are doing this too much with each other, rather than with other countries," referring to the case between the associatn and PFZW and other disputes about issues such as the offering of life-course products.
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