NETHERLANDS – Mercurius, the €270m pension fund for the Dutch financial services sector, has conceded it must “consider its position” after all five companies affiliated with the scheme said they would terminate their contracts at year-end due to poor performance.
However, two companies – Euronext Amsterdam and LCH.Clearnet – have yet to request a collective transfer of pension rights, leaving the scheme’s board to decide whether to carry on with Mercurius or outsource the remaining rights and go into liquidation.
Other employers participating in the pension fund include communications supervisor AFM, which is to establish its own scheme, and financial-expert register DSI, which plans to place its pensions with an insurer.
Euroclear, meanwhile, said it would transfer accrued pensions rights to a new, pan-European company scheme.
Mercurius, however, has had to put all three transfer requests on hold after its coverage ratio dipped below 100% in June.
Following a 3% rights discount last April, as well as an additional employers’ contributions of €21.3m, the pension fund recovered from an absolute low of 84.8% at the end of 2011.
The scheme’s return on investments of 9.1% last year underperformed its benchmark by more than 3.3 percentage points.
It also lost 0.7% on investments in 2011, and 23% in 2008.
Earlier this year, the scheme’s board attempted to reduce portfolio risk by contracting out asset management and focusing on passive management.
It also set out to also “simplify” its portfolio, in order to reduce the volatility of its coverage ratio.
Last year, employers in the Dutch financial sector planned to establish an industry-wide scheme called Pecunia, which was also meant to service lobbying organisations, supervisors and affiliated companies.
The initiative failed, however, after the €338bn pensions provider APG withdrew its support.
The Pensioenfonds Mercurius Amsterdam has 790 active participants, 840 deferred members and 220 pensioners.