NETHERLANDS - Dutch pension provider Syntrus Achmea has acquired more than 1m small pensions for its client pension funds, after actively persuading deferred members with yearly pension rights of less than €427 to surrender their policies.

In September 2009, the company unveiled an automated process for approaching the relevant deferred participants, who have usually accrued limited pension rights during short or temporary contracts.

Syntrus Achmea said 70% of the participants agreed to the proposal to surrender their policy, meaning they receive the assets immediately, after a standard taxation of 33.5%.

Policyholders who decline to take up the offer must leave their pension assets with their pension fund until they retire.

Erik van der Struijs, spokesman at Syntrus Achmea, said the provider has been tasked by 17 of its more than 70 client schemes to buy off small pensions.

He added that the bought-off amounts varied from a couple of dozen of euros a year to €1,500 in accumulated value of future benefits.

He said he could not specify the amount of cost-saving, as "administration costs for deferred participants are different at every scheme".

Syntrus Achmea has contracted out the approaching of deferred members to Cendris, a company focusing on administrative processes, which has also developed a website for the very purpose.

Van der Struijs said Syntrus Achmea focused on buying off small pensions dating from before 2007, but that it has now started dealing with recent pension rights.

He estimated that the 17 pension funds still had more than 1m deferred members with limited pension rights who qualified for giving up their policy.