NETHERLANDS - PGGM, one of the largest European pension funds, is being taken to court by the Dutch Association of Insurance Companies (Verbond van Verzekeraars) over claims of unfair competition.

A spokesman for the Association told IPE today his organisation would start a lawsuit this month "against PGGM's plans to give its new administrative body the name PGGM after the split of the pension fund and the commercial administrative body".

PGGM, the €88bn industry-wide fund for the Dutch health care and social work sector, will from this year split into two to create a pension fund and an administrative organisation, the latter of which will administer the collective pension scheme.

The pension fund itself will change its name to Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (‘Foundation for Pension Fund Care and Welfare'), however the Association argues establishing a commercial organisation that will, for instance, sell life course insurance products under the name PGGM constitutes unfair competition.

"The Association has the view that PGGM, with the rehanging of name tags, wants to gain commercial advantages from its famous name," a statement read on the organisation's website last week.

PGGM has declined to comment, saying as long as the questions of the Association are with a judge PGGM will refrain from commenting.

PGGM and giant pension fund ABP were fined last year over the marketing over their life course products via sister-organisations by the Dutch pension regulator and central bank, DNB, after a complaint by the Association of Insurance Companies.

Both PGGM and ABP lodged appeals, though it was judged they had to pay the fines given by the DNB.

Elsewhere, Dutch media reports have said the DNB has again fined pension funds for the way in which they sell life course products.

The regulator is understood to have fined the €350m industry-wide fund for the agrarian and food supply trade, the €1bn pension fund for pharmacy workers and the €840m pension fund for the public pharmacies.