SBZ, the €5bn industry-wide pension fund for healthcare insurers in the Netherlands, is to remain with Syntrus Achmea for the time being, as the pensions administrator’s new IT system should be able to accommodate SBZ’s “relatively simple” pension plan.
Adri van der Wurff, the scheme’s chair, told IPE sister publication Pensioen Pro that its pension arrangements were not managed on the system Syntrus plans to drop, adding that the continuity of pensions administration was not at risk for SBZ.
He said SBZ’s actuarial contributions and its non-mandatory participation set-up made the scheme fairly straightforward.
He added that the pension fund was now assessing whether it wanted to extend its contract with Syntrus when it expires at the end of next year.
Syntrus Achmea Pensioenbeheer confirmed that SBZ is the only industry-wide pension fund of its 23 sector clients that will have its administration carried out using the new IT system.
Last week, Syntrus Achmea announced that it would terminate its loss-making service to industry-wide pension funds, as its new IT system could not cope with a number of complicated pension plans.
As a consequence, several sector schemes, including those for hairdressers, dental technicians and the cold meat industry (VLEP), have been forced to seek providers.
Some have expressed concerns that Syntrus Achmea would shut down its ‘old’ system too quickly and argued that they had been left in a weakened position for negotiating new admin deals.
Meanwhile, Stipp, the €1bn scheme for the temporary employment sector, announced on its website that it is close to concluding a contract with PGGM for carrying out its administration from 2018.
The pension fund – a Syntrus Achmea client – has been looking for a new provider for the past year, having “insufficient innovation” on pensions communication at Syntrus, according to Erwin Bosman, its workers’ chairman.
He said Stipp had not been surprised by Syntrus’s announcement, “as we had our doubts already about the future quality of service, as well as the extent the provider was prepared to invest for us”.
Bosman said PGGM would set up a new administration system for defined contribution arrangements for Stipp that would take the scheme’s specific characteristics into account.
“This will enable us to share our views at the start of the process,” said Bosman, who added that PGGM could also deliver on communication.
Elsewhere, the €4.2bn pension fund for the grocery industry, Levensmiddelen, said it was also in an advanced stage of tendering for a new provider.
Rick Grutters, its employee chair, said that this had been part of a “periodical orientation” and was not because his scheme had been dissatisfied with Syntrus’s service.
On its website, Levensmiddelen said Syntrus’s announcement that it would cease servicing sector schemes had served as an impetus to speed up the selection process for a new provider.