PNO Media is to begin drawing contributions for its defined benefit pension plans from the average age of participating companies’ workers rather than charge an average contribution per worker.

With the move, the €5bn, non-mandatory sector-wide scheme said hoped to prevent its participating companies from shifting their pension arrangements to insurers that base premiums on workers’ average age by default.

As a result, smaller companies with predominantly younger workers will pay substantially lower contributions, according to Nelly Altenburg, the scheme’s chair, and Jeroen van der Put, director at MPD, the pension fund’s provider. 

Altenburg said companies with a relatively high proportion of older workers would see their premiums increase but only in phases and by no more than 1 percentage point next year.

PNO Media will also begin offering the option of individual or collective defined contribution (DC) arrangements, considering DC plans as “essential” to attracting new companies.

Van der Put said the collective DC plan would be variable and that the accrued pension’s level would be determined annually.

“If the pension becomes more expensive, the accrual percentage will be lowered,” he said.

Altenburg said PNO Media aimed to add 5,000 new participants to the current number of 15,000 over the next three years.

The pension fund, which boasts 450 member companies, is the second industry-wide scheme in the Netherlands to add DC plans to its DB arrangements, with the €20bn sector scheme PGB recently confirming that it would expand its offering.