Allianz Global Investors has stopped accepting new fiduciary management clients in the Netherlands.
The company told IPE’s sister publication Pensioen Pro that it could not meet the requirement imposed by pension funds that their fiduciary manager must serve several Dutch clients.
The company also lost the pension fund of insurance company UWV as its only major customer in the Netherlands last year, which Allianz GI said also played a role in the decision to cease its fiduciary activities. The UWV pension fund hired Kempen Capital Management as its fiduciary manager from 1 October 2017.
Irshaad Ahmad, head of institutional Europe at Allianz GI, said: “Since the end of 2016, pension funds have increasingly demanded in their requests for proposals that their new fiduciary must serve several Dutch pension funds.
“We had only one large fiduciary customer in the Netherlands, UWV [pension fund], and two smaller, internal pension funds from Allianz itself. We could not meet the condition of sufficient presence on Dutch soil.
“We were still in the race to extend the mandate with UWV [pension fund], but when we lost this it was easier to decide to stop completely fiduciary management in the Netherlands and to shift our focus to asset management only.”
Allianz still manages the overlay mandate for the UWV pension fund’s currency and interest rate hedges.
According to Ahmad, the pension fund’s decision fitted with the trend among Dutch pension funds to opt for a domestic fiduciary manager, and to employ specialised foreign asset managers.
“I do not yet see this development in other European countries,” Ahmad said. “The Netherlands is really at the forefront here.”
Currently, Allianz GI mainly manages equity and bond portfolios for Dutch pension funds.
In the coming years, Ahmad said the group would focus more on illiquid assets such as infrastructure, leveraged loans and factor solutions. The asset manager is also experimenting with a fee structure based more on performance-related fees.
Lombard Odier also lost a large Dutch client with pension fund Bakkers last year. The group declined to say whether it had also stopped its fiduciary service in the Netherlands.
A spokesperson for Lombard Odier in London said: “We have adjusted to meet customer demand. We offer customisation and a modular approach that meets their needs.”