The Dutch regulator (DNB) has predicted that the number of pension funds in the country will drop from 300 to about 200 by the end of next year, as consolidation continues apace.

Speaking at the Euroforum congress on Thursday, Bert Boertje, director of pension fund supervision at DNB, said he based his estimate on talks with a number of pension funds already expressing a desire to be wound up.

Boertje told IPE he also expected the consolidation trend to continue after 2017.

“If the new pensions system leads to more uniform pension arrangements,” he said, “it will become easier for pension funds to merge.”

Boertje said rising costs would increase the pressure to consolidate, as he expected pension-fund participants with more freedom of choice to be generally more demanding of Dutch schemes.

The DNB director said that, in recent years, 40-50 pension funds had been wound up annually.

In 2010, Joanne Kellermann, supervisory director at DNB at the time, said 100 pension funds would be sufficient in the Netherlands.

In 1997, the country still counted 1,060 schemes in total.