NETHERLANDS - The €7bn pension fund for general practitioners (SPH), its provider DPFS and the €105bn pensions provider PGGM, have formally agreed a partnership as of January next year, with PGGM taking a stake in the provider.

The partnership will focus on pensions administration, board support and asset management, the parties said in a joint statement.

PGGM - the provider for the €103bn healthcare scheme PFZW - will become co-owner of DPFS, besides SPH, the statement added.  The scheme revealed in its annual report earlier this year that it was looking for a strong strategic provider to partner with.

"Initially, PGGM will acquire a minority stake, which will be gradually increased to full ownership over time," Gerard van Dalen, director of DPFS, told IPE.

SPH has been the sole shareholder since the €5.6bn scheme for medical consultants (SPMS) left DPFS in 2009.

The agreement will lead to a further improvement in service to the participants and will contribute to future-proof pension provision,  SPH added.

"Being part of a large organisation also improves the perspectives for DPFS and its staff," it said.

Van Dalen stressed that DPFS will continue operations as usual, and that there are no plans to integrate with PGGM.

PGGM and DPFS said that the co-operation will enable them to also offer other pension funds tailor-made services.

"After we have shown that the new partnership is effective, we will actively start scouting the market, focusing on other occupational schemes," the DPFS director pointed out.

"We expect much of this co-operation, as PGGM's expertise and skills will guarantee continuity of our services to our participants," commented Dick Willemse, chairman of SPH.

"This co-operation enhances our position in the pension sector and in the care sector in particular," said Martin van Rijn, PGGM's chief executive officer.

"It enables us to keep on providing a high-quality service against an affordable price."

SPH has over 16,000 participants.