The €125m pension fund of fashion chain Peek & Cloppenburg has decided to liquidate itself to join the €12bn industry-wide scheme for the Dutch retail sector, Detailhandel. Chairman Jos van Noort told IPE that demands from regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) to increase the level of expertise among its trustees had also been a factor in its decision, adding that the pension fund felt the DNB’s demands could jeopardise its “continuity”.Currently, the Pensioenfonds Peek & Cloppenburg boasts a funding ratio of 120% – although Van Noort acknowledged this was partly due to savings on admin costs following its decision to merge.He added that any funding surplus at the P&C scheme at the time of the merger – scheduled for 1 January 2015 – would be added to the pension rights of “his” participants and pensioners. As of the end of August, Detailhandel reported a funding ratio of 119.6%. Van Noort said the P&C scheme had refrained from placing its pensions arrangements with an insurer largely due to the risk that “insurers can go bust”.This would hit younger participants in particular, according to the board.The chairman also said the consolidation had come at the request of the employer.The liquidation of the P&C scheme – and its subsequent merger with Detailhandel – is still subject to DNB approval, according to Van Noort, who also said arrangements still needed to be fleshed out with the industry-wide scheme.The Pensioenfonds Peek & Cloppenburg has approximately 3,000 participants, of which 600 are active. In January, it granted its participants an 0.5% indexation.It increased the annual pensions accrual from 1.47% to 1.62% last year.
Bpf Landbouw, the €15bn industry-wide scheme for agricultural workers in the Netherlands, has taken in four pension funds with combined assets of €880m last year.The pension fund now covers a broad spectrum of industries, including horticulturists and agricultural contractors.Last year, the pension funds of Givaudan, a fragrance and food-flavouring specialist, and Dairy Trading, a dairy producer, joined Landbouw after they were liquidated and transferred their pension assets.Groenten en Fruit, the sector scheme for the vegetables and fruit processing industry, and the company pension fund of Heinz also merged with Landbouw in 2015. Merging with the pension funds raised the total number of participants in Landbouw by more than 19,000 to approximately 620,000.Because Landbouw outsourced its pensions provision to Aegon subsidiary TKP, the pension funds of Givaudan and Dairy Trading terminated contracts in place with Aon Hewitt.Groenten en Fruit and the Heinz scheme had to leave Syntrus Achmea and NN subsidiary AZL, respectively.Bpf Landbouw has outsourced its asset management to Achmea Investment Management.As a result of the four pension funds joining the agricultural scheme, the asset managers BMO (Groenten en Fruit), Robeco (Heinz), SEI Investments (Givaudan) and Aegon Asset Management (Dairy Trading) lost clients.Because all joining schemes had a higher funding than Landbouw, they could benefit from the surplus assets through one-off increases of pension rights, with the participants of Dairy Trading and Groenten en Fruit receiving improvements of 7% and 12%, respectively.At November-end, Bpf Landbouw’s policy funding ratio – the criterion for rights cuts and indexation – stood at 100.9%.