WTW has sold its Dutch Premium Pension Institution (PPI), a defined contribution (DC) second-pillar pension vehicle, to Athora Netherlands.

Pending regulatory approval, the €1.1bn PPI, which is known as LifeSight in the Netherlands, will be merged with Athora’s Zwitserleven PPI. The combined pension vehicle will have assets under management of approximately €2.7bn and 126,000 participants in the €21bn Dutch PPI market.

A spokesperson for WTW told IPE the firm had “reviewed the requirements to accelerate its PPI’s future growth, and determined the best future strategy was to explore a new sponsor that can meet the PPI’s needs.”

LifeSight director Edwin van den Oever already told IPE’s sister publication Pensioen Pro earlier this year that “the current market situation for PPIs is not futureproof” as PPIs fiercely compete for market share and struggle to turn a profit.

The take-over of WTW’s PPI, which was launched in 2014, is the fourth such transaction in two years on the PPI market, which is now dominated by insurance firms.

In May insurance firm Achmea bought ABN Amro’s PPI. Earlier, fellow insurer ASR seized full control of the PPI Brand New Day, while Allianz acquired the PPI that was run jointly by Rabobank and pension provider PGGM.

Growth ambition

“The merger with WTW’s PPI gives an extra boost to the growth and strength of our defined contribution proposition and fits with our ambition to be the leading pension provider in the Netherlands,” said Jan de Pooter, chief executive officer of Athora Netherlands.

“With its modern customer portals and dynamic lifecycles combined with Zwitserleven PPI’s high-quality, sustainable products and excellent returns, we are building a powerful combination that will allow us to offer employers a modern, flexible and sustainable pension scheme, well positioned for the new pension agreement,” he said.

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