NETHERLANDS – Small Dutch pension funds need to consolidate into two or three large national schemes to stay competitive in Europe, says Robeco chief executive George Moller.
“These large pension institutes could serve all European countries with their expertise in asset management and administration. Only from this position, Holland will be prepared for the free European pensions market, which will be a reality within this decade,” Moller said.
He was responding to the present discussion within government about the future broad structure of the pension system in an article in the Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad.
In Moller’s opinion, the social partners who govern the schemes block the necessary changes. Therefore he calls for an open debate as a way of getting things moving.
In order to get a more liberated market which complies with European directives, the Dutch cabinet wants operating arms to be split-off from the pension funds. They should continue as separate companies and compete in the market with insurers and investment funds.
According to Moller, the Dutch pensions market is too fragmented, which leads to too high costs and ultimately to a weakening of the competitiveness of the pensions industry.
“If there isn’t a combination of strength soon, the pensions industry might disappear from Holland,” he warned.
“Pension giants from France, Germany or the US will be at the doorstep.”
Moller is concerned about the future of the Dutch pensions sector, after he saw an exodus of investment funds.
This has happened since Luxembourg introduced a vehicle for international asset pooling. The Dutch Finance ministry recently endorsed a similar scheme, the Fonds voor Gemene Rekening.