NORWAY - Three Norwegian local councils, Rygge, Lindås and Vågsøy, are tendering for group pension services in total worth NOK42m (€4.7m).

KLP,  Norway's biggest pension provider, currently supplies the Rygge and Lindås municipalities with an occupational pension scheme; Vågsøy is currently with Vital, a subsidiary of DnB Nor, the country's biggest bank.

"Occupational pension schemes are mandatory under the so called main tariff agreement," explained Vidar Pedersen of consultancy firm Aon Grieg, based in Lysaeker, which advises all three councils.

"They are exercising their right to move the agreement to another supplier, as you can terminate the contract three months before the year ends. This is why they have now all come in at the same time," he added.

The mandates will go to the most "economically advantageous" tender. Also those responding to the tender must have sufficient financial strength to make them capable of carrying out the services, the councils said.

Pedersen believed it is highly likely that KLP and Vital will re-tender for the mandates. "The competition between the suppliers is quite fierce and they will try everything to keep the customers and to get them," he said.

In the past decade there has been strong competition in this area, Pedersen noted. "Over the last 10 years some 80 to 85 municipalities have chosen new suppliers. What is new is that we had a ruling last year that obliges us to follow the EU-rulebook and tender these contracts formally."

The time-limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 27 October.