NETHERLANDS - Holland Financial Centre (HFC) is set to publish a business plan pleading for a departure from "internal competition" in the Dutch pension sector.

Akkie Lansberg, HFC's newly-appointed chief executive, told delegates at a pension fund conference in Utrecht the action plan will detail HFC's strategy for the coming two years, focusing on the chances for the Dutch pension industry, and mapping out the weaknesses of the sector.

She identified the lack of a legal strategy for the recently proposed Algemene Pensioen Intelling (API) - a new pensions vehicle to bolster the Netherlands' position as a destination for pan-European pensions - as one of the main threats to the sector: "Our legislation is lagging behind the rest of Europe," she said.

Secondly, there is not enough of a level playing-field, argued Lansberg, saying: "The cabinet wants to operate in a competition neutral way, but in reality there is a competition backlog."

She added: "And where we are competing, we are doing this too much with each other, rather than with other countries," referring to the recent quarrels between the pension fund and insurance organisations about issues such as the offering of life course products.

Instead, the pension fund sector should focus more on competing with countries such as the UK, the US and Luxembourg, who are the top three asset management countries in terms of volume of business.

Flexible and good legislation and supervision as enjoyed in Luxembourg and Dublin would be a key element in aiding this process, argued Lansberg.

"The key of success lies in the cooperation within the sector and the government," she concluded.

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