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General Electric mulls launch of cross-border IORP

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General Electric is considering the launch of a cross-border pension fund based in Belgium.

The plans, mentioned in the Dutch GE Pensioenfonds 2014 annual report, could see future accrual for several European countries shift to a Belgium-domiciled vehicle, according to pension fund chair Yvonne den Bakker.

GE is the latest company to consider the launch of a cross-border fund for its Dutch scheme.

Aon Netherlands recently angered employees after deciding to establish a vehicle in Brussels despite its workers’ council still debating the move.

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ExxonMobil was also considering a move to Belgium.

Den Bakker said the Dutch sponsor and employee representatives were now considering future options for the Dutch fund, which has €290m in assets.

She added that the sponsor was awaiting a decision from employee representatives, and that, once their stance became clear, the fund’s future would be evaluated.

The move comes after the Dutch fund suffered a decline in membership – nearly halving from 1,034 at the end of 2013 to around 650 – after GE sold off part of its Dutch business and moved production out of the country.

Plans to transfer the pension benefits of employees at GE Artesia Bank, a provider of trade finance, to the main GE scheme were abandoned after they proved infeasible, Den Bakker said.

GE Artesia Bank was recently revealed as one of the firms discussing the launch of a new ‘general pension fund’, or APF, covering companies within the financial sector.

GE Pensioenfonds had close to 2,000 members at the end of 2014.

As of late June, its policy coverage ratio stood at 105.6%.

GE declined to comment when approached by IPE sister publication Pensioen Pro. 

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