Progress and Forward, Unilever’s company pension funds in the Netherlands, have said they will join the company’s new general pension fund (APF) from 1 July.

According to a spokeswoman, the APF’s main purpose is to reduce board costs at the €6bn defined benefit scheme Progress, which closed to new participants at the end of 2014, and its new collective defined contribution plan Forward.

She said it was “unlikely” the Unilever APF would also provide pension arrangements for other employers.

To date, the Unilever schemes are the only pension funds to endeavour to set up an APF in the Netherlands.

The pension funds of three financial sector firms, including the scheme of KAS Bank, recently put plans to launch a joint APF on hold after they concluded that insurers’ APFs were likely to charge much less.

Although the APF was designed as a solution for pension funds seeking to cut costs and increase board expertise, applications for a license to operate an APF have been almost exclusively submitted by insurers.

Insurers Aegon, ASR, Centraal Beheer, Delta Lloyd and Nationale Nederlanden (NN) have all unveiled plans for APFs.

Aegon, Centraal Beheer and NN said their APF would co-operate with their respective providers: TKP, Syntrus Achmea and AZL.

Last month, PGGM, the €182bn asset manager and pensions provider for the healthcare scheme PFZW, also submitted an application.

On its website, it said it intended to target small company pension funds.

The Dutch financial regulator is expected to issue the first APF licences within a few weeks.