NETHERLANDS - Consultancy firm Towers Perrin says it has opened an office in the Dutch town of Apeldoorn.

In an interview with IPE, Towers Perrin's Rotterdam principal Falco Valkenburg said that the new office, employing a team of 15, has been up and running since July.

The firm chose to expand to Apeldoorn, which is about 100km east of Amsterdam, as it is the Dutch centre for actuaries and actuarially trained personnel, who the firm targeted via a direct mailing - an approach which has won the firm the Dutch 2006 recruiter of the year award.

"For a while we have been looking for ways to attract additional staff and we decided to look where there is a considerable number of actuarially trained personnel, but where there is no direct competitor, so we decided to go for Apeldoorn," Valkenburg said.

Since July, Towers Perrin has hired 11 new staff for its new Apeldoorn operation, four others have come from the Rotterdam office.

Valkenburg says that the firm plans to expand further in the regions in the near future, adding "The fact that the Apeldoorn office of De Nederlandsche Bank will close might bring new opportunities."

Dutch insurer Achmea (part of Eureko), which operates its pensions arm and subsidiary Centraal Beheer Achmea from Apeldoorn, said it had "absolutely no problem" with Towers Perrin moving closer.