Goudse Haven, the €9.3m pension fund of Dutch bank Hof Hoorneman Bankiers, has liquidated after placing further pensions accrual with insurer ASR, in addition to also transferring its assets to the insurer.
ASR will continue to carry out defined contribution arrangements for the scheme, which has 68 active participants and 58 deferred members, making it the smallest pension fund in the Netherlands.
With assets of €5.5m, only the “stability compartment” of consolidation vehicle Centraal Beheer API is smaller.
Some years ago, Fried van‘t Hof, co-founder of the bank and one of the scheme’s trustees at the time, told a Dutch pensions publication that, despite its small scale, the pension fund saw no need for consolidation.
He explained that the scheme was managed in house as just an additional account, and that the administration was also carried out internally.
At the time, he also said new and stricter regulation did not pose a problem either.
However, one of the reasons to consolidate now was that the employer wanted to offer its staff additional options, such as a drawdown pension as well as an online overview of their pensions accrual, explained Jaco Aardoom, the bank’s managing director.
Last year, ASR introduced a product for a drawdown pension. Recently, the pension funds Van Lanschot and Nedlloyd also opted for these arrangements.
The liquidation of Goudse Haven is part of a long process of consolidation in the Dutch pensions sector, which saw the total number of pension funds drop from 1,042 in 1998 to less than 240 last year.
Of the remaining schemes, almost 50 are in liquidation. Of the current 187 active pension funds, 125 are company schemes and 46 are industry-wide pension funds.
In addition, there are nine occupational schemes left as well as six consolidation vehicles (API).
Pensions regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) said the consolidation process will continue for some time, but added that it is unable to predict how many pension funds will ultimately remain.
It highlighted that it is up to the pension funds to decide about their viability and that DNB challenged schemes to assess their situation.