The segment Holding and Other consists primarily of the holding activities of a.s.r. (including the group related activities), other holding and intermediate holding companies, the real estate development business (ASR Vastgoed Projecten B.V.), ASR Vooruit B.V., the investment firm that performs activities related to private investing for customers, and the activities of ASR Deelnemingen N.V.
The operating result improved by € 13 million to € -130 million (2020: € -143 million), primarily as a result of lower pension costs related to the introduction of the new DC pension scheme for a.s.r. employees. The operating result includes interest charges of € 44 million (2020: € 44 million) for two subordinated liabilities (Tier 2 notes).
The operating expenses decreased by € 20 million to € 86 million (2020: € 106 million), primarily as a result of the new a.s.r. pension scheme and a refinement of pension costs allocation resulting in a shift of pension costs from Holding to the other segments. The decrease in operating expenses was partly offset by higher allocated staff costs and the brand transition of De Amersfoortse into a.s.r. as from 19 April 2021.
The IFRS result before tax improved by € 28 million to € -175 million (2020: € -203 million), due to the lower negative impact of incidental items and an increase in the operating result. The improvement in incidental items of € 15 million to € -45 million (2020: € -60 million) reflects a capital gain on the sale of an equity participation and higher indirect investment income (€ 21 million).
Furthermore, incidentals decreased by € 6 million to € -75 million mainly related to start-up and implementation costs for new propositions (including the Vitality programme and Ik Denk Vooruit) and the digitisation programme. This was partly offset by the completion of integration processes (Loyalis, VvAA and Veherex) and lower regulatory costs related to the IFRS17/9 implementation. The other incidentals also include the incidental result of the old DB pension scheme for a.s.r. employees.