NETHERLANDS – The Dutch pensions regulator DNB may fine the country’s two largest schemes, ABP and PGGM, for promoting the levensloop, or ‘life course’, schemes of the subsidiaries.

“ABP has received a letter from DNB, which mentioned the possibility of a fine,” the scheme’s spokesman Marcel Vleugels said. “In the meantime we have replied. We expect DNB to take a final decision at the end of January.”

The DNB letter was triggered by a protest from the Dutch Association of Insurers, which accused both schemes of unfairly using their positions to actively market levensloop products to their 2m members.

The association pointed at rules for industry-wide pension funds, which forbid schemes to inform their members about products of third parties.

Because pension funds themselves are not allowed to provide levensloop schemes themselves, they have set up subsidiary companies. Civil service scheme ABP and health care scheme PGGM are now offering their levensloop products via Loyalis and Careon respectively. But according to the insurers, the pension funds have repeatedly informed their members about those products.

“If subsidiary companies are allowed to offer levensloop products, it is logical that a pension fund is allowed to inform its members which company it is,” ABP said in a statement.

“Moreover, the levensloop could play an important role in the replacement of prepension schemes which have lost their tax benefit as of January 1”.

ABP has been informing its members about Loyalis’ services via its website, its magazine and brochures.

PGGM spokesman Cor Brockhoven only confirmed that the scheme had also received a letter from the DNB, De Nederlandsche Bank. “We have already responded, and we will be having a discussion about it with the regulator.”

A DNB spokesman declined to comment.