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ABP to disclose entire equity holdings

NETHERLANDS - At least four large Dutch pension funds have announced they will disclose the names of quoted companies in which they invest.

Civil service scheme ABP, healthcare scheme PGGM, heavy engineering scheme PME and railways scheme SPF will publish the names of the companies on their websites, director Peter Borgdorff of the Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds (VB) said on a television programme on Monday night.

The pension funds have €333bn of assets under management in total, and represent several million workers and pensioners.

A day earlier, Dutch pensions funds faced criticism in another television programme, for investing nearly €300m in American companies that also produce cluster bombs and landmines, as well as in firms that use child labour. In a response, VB has called upon its members to reveal the relevant information.

The €210bn fund ABP said it will disclose ‘all its shares' in almost 4,000 listed companies it has invested in. This will happen on a yearly basis, for the first time during the presentation of its annual figures on 10 April.

In addition, ABP will intensify its investment policy on human rights, environment and ethical governance. It will pay attention in particular to issues which don't contravene legislation or treaties, but are seen as objectionable, such as cluster bombs, it said.

"The question is whether we should invest in this kind of business," spokesman Hans ten Brinke explained.

According to Ten Brinke, ABP will multiply its present capacity for monitoring companies, by hiring a dozen analysts. The scheme will also step up the use of its voting rights on shareholders meetings.

However, ABP won't disclose its investments in private equity, its spokesman told IPE. At the moment, about one-third of ABP's equity is invested in non-listed companies.

PGGM, the healthcare scheme, will soon take a decision on more detailed investment criteria, which will allow it to judge companies individually on possible exclusion from investment, said Ellen Habermehl.

So far, the healthcare scheme doesn't invest in companies which rely for over 50% on weapons production.

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