NETHERLANDS - The €5bn pension fund for Dutch medical consultants, SPMS, is planning to swap its present pension provider and asset manager Doctors Pension Funds Services (DPFS) for two larger players.

The occupational pension scheme is currently in negotiations with the Algemene Pensioengroep  (APG) as a pension provider and with BlackRock for its asset management.

Jeroen Steenvoorden, director of SPMS, said the scheme is also in talks with several providers about the management of its non-listed property portfolio, worth approximately 7% of its assets.

"Although we are not dissatisfied with the present service level of DPFS, we think our members will be better off in the future if the service is provided by larger players," he explained.

Steenvoorden confirmed his scheme terminated its contract with DPFS as of 1 January 2011, and he indicated present negotiations could be concluded in June.

SPMS decided to switch providers after reviewing market research into the contracting-out of its management and pension provision to a larger provider.

The study was carried out in co-operation with the €6bn pension fund for general practitioners (SPH), which is also a client and co-owner of DPFS.

Officials at SPH came to the conclusion, however, that the quality of its pension provision is best guaranteed if it stays with DPFS, albeit SPH will look at the options open to reinforcing its provider.

"We are convinced that the number of our participants and assets are sufficient to guarantee the continuity of DPFS," stated SPH.

SPH has 8,290 active participants, 1,420 deferred members and 5,040 pensioners. Its cover ratio was almost 136% at the end of 2008.

The SPMS consultants' scheme has 7,200 active participants, 1,300 deferred members and 5,700 pensioners, and had a cover ratio of over 117% at the end of 2009.

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