NETHERLANDS - The sector-wide pension fund (BPF) administration unit of Syntrus Achmea is to undergo an efficiency drive as part of its ongoing merger with Rabobank subsidiary Interpolis.

But the pension provider denied that its plans, which include centralising BPF operations and cutting jobs, was in response to the reduction in its market share last year.

"This exercise will raise the quality of our operations, aimed at offering the best service against the lowest price," Hans Snijders, chairman of Syntrus Achmea, said.

The pension provider saw its market share drop from 39% to 26% based on participant numbers, after several clients moved their administration contracts to other providers, and prompting parent company Eureko to announce a shake-up. (See earlier IPE article: Achmea faces shake-up after losing business)

But Stefan Kloet, spokesman for Syntrus Achmea, said the streamlining was not linked to the loss of clients but rather the result of the integration process of Interpolis and Achmea. He added that the outflow of customers had already stopped.

Most of the BPF unit's operations will be concentrated at a single location in De Meern near Utrecht within two years, and the number of administrative systems will be reduced, as a further step in the unification of Syntrus Achmea, Eureko confirmed.

The BPF unit carries out the administration of approximately 40 industry-wide pension funds, and employs 950 staff in De Meern and Amsterdam.

According to Eureko, it is expecting a loss of 400 jobs by the end of 2014.

Kloet also confirmed that Syntrus Achmea did not have plans to streamline its other business units, such as asset management and property management, "as these are already operating from one location as well as using one system".

The spokesman declined to indicate the cost level Syntrus Achmea was aiming for following the integration of its BPF unit.

Pensions provider Syntrus Achmea was created in 2008 through the merger of Achmea and Rabobank subsidiary Interpolis. It provides pension services to over 80 pension funds with a total of 3.6m participants and €58bn of assets under management.