Denmark’s DKK55bn (€7.4bn) pension fund for education practitioners, PBU, is aiming to start talks with other pension funds and stakeholders that it says could lead to all people in the profession having the same pension, rather than the diverse provision that exists now.

As things stand, education practitioners in Denmark may be part of collective agreements where their pension is provided by PBU (Pædagogernes Pensionskasse), or belong to agreements using another pension fund for their pension.

This means individuals may find themselves having to switch pension provider when they change jobs within the same profession.

PBU said it had now started a process aimed at solving this problem.

Jan Rasmussen, director of business development, told IPE: “The first phase of this process is to discuss how we can address the challenge that different pension funds offer different conditions for these workers.”

In Denmark, ‘pædagog’ or education practitioner, is the professional name for specifically trained staff in nurseries, kindergartens, after-school clubs and day and residential institutions.

Other pension funds covering education practitioners are those run by, for example, PKA, PenSam and Lærernes Pension, the pension fund for teachers, Rasmussen said.

In the last five years, PBU estimates that nearly one-third of its working members transferred to another pension fund based on their new workplace, or transferred into PBU. 

It said changing fund and scheme could be confusing and costly for members.

Asked whether the talks could end up with a decision to merge pension funds in some way, Rasmussen said: “One cannot exclude the possibility these talks will end up in the decision to have one set-up for all education practitioners, but, presently, we don’t have specific plans, and that would eventually be years from now.” 

PBU’s 108,000 members were covered by a homogeneous market-rate product, he said, while other pension funds that had members with the same qualification provided a with-profits (gennemsnitsrente) pension product.

Rasmussen said this type of process to reduce the differences between labour-market pension scheme types was a common challenge within the Danish pension sector.

“But this is especially the case in our sector, where there is high mobility between different pension funds,” he said.

Ultimately, Rasmussen said, PBU’s aim in the task it is undertaking is to make conditions better for its members.

Neither PKA nor Lærernes Pension were immediately able to comment on the matter.