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AIFM Directive 'forces' Blue Sky Group to split into three divisions

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The €16bn asset manager and pensions provider Blue Sky Group is to split its organisation into three separate entities following the introduction of Alternatives Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

In its 2013 annual report, it said the new Directive had forced it to create separate organisations for collective and individual asset management and advice, as well as one for pensions management and board support.

The AIFMD is chiefly aimed at managers of private equity and hedge funds investments.

In Blue Sky’s annual report, Toine van der Stee, the company’s director, criticised the profusion of new financial legislation and rules.

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While conceding that legislation “made sense” to some extent against the backdrop of the financial crisis, he argued that smaller financial institutions were now failing to cope with the rising burden of regulation.

Van der Stee also lamented the “division and lack of leadership among politicians and the social partners, and within the pensions sector itself” with regard to the review of the Dutch pensions system.

He said these failings had also increased costs for pension funds considerably, as they have been forced to prepare for policy changes time and time again.

As an example, he cited the application for an AIFMD licence – required for collective asset management – which has already cost more than €1m for Blue Sky to prepare.

Van der Stee also claimed that the costs of governance and support at pension funds had increased disproportionally, whereas the costs of asset management and pensions administration had remained relatively stable in recent years.

Blue Sky said further improvement of information management, as well as accessibility of information for pension funds’ boards, was among its priorities for 2014.

The company serves approximately 20 pension funds and insurers – including the three large KLM pension funds – with 85,000 participants in total.

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