Willis Towers Watson (WTW) in the Netherlands has made 13 of its senior consultants redundant, partly as a consequence of the falling number of pension funds in the country.

Hamadi Zaghdoudi, head of WTW’s Dutch pensions operations, told IPE sister publication Pension Pro that the company’s desire to create promotion opportunities for younger workers also played a part in the decision.

Zaghdoudi took pains to emphasise that the redundancies did not represent a reorganisation, “as the number is too small relative to the more than 200 consultants that are employed”.

The head of pensions operations said there had been discussions about a reduction of the number of senior consultants for several years.

“The turnover in our upper echelons is low, and, following several mergers in a shrinking market, the organisation had become top-heavy,” he said.

“As a result, career opportunities for younger colleagues stagnated, which posed the risk of our losing talented people.”

According to Zaghdoudi, WTW informed its staff and clients at the end of September.

“Because we have tried to match our remaining consultants with our client pension funds, we hope clients will find out in a couple of months that nothing has changed for them,” he said.

Zagdoudi said the consultants made redundant were free to join competitor consultancies under the sole restriction that they are not allowed to advise pension funds that have been clients with WTW.

Over the last 10 years, the number of pension funds in the Netherlands has dropped from 800 to about 325 following an ongoing process of consolidation.

Last year, regulator DNB said this number was expected to fall further to no more than 265.