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Paribas pre-empts French DC move

Banque Paribas Asset Management has launched a new pension fund marketing division for French and Italian institutional retirement funds.

The new division builds on a strong position in the defined benefit market, and has been set up in expectation both of the eventual passage of the new pension fund law and of a move by French companies to defined contribution.

Jean-Baptiste Segard, head of the di-vision says that the bank is setting up the structure for a fond d'épargne re-traite in the belief that the new law will eventually pass and plans to be one of the first to have such a vehicle in operation.

The fact that the law is being rediscussed and amended is a factor but does not prevent us from establishing our structures and preparing the groundwork. We do believe that these schemes will exist," he says.

In Italy, the Paribas group as a whole, has already applied for registration under the new pension's law and expects to be in operation in six or eight months though some details are still being finalised.

"In Italy we are well positioned and are now considering how to consolidate our presence either with or without partners. This is the second most interesting market in Europe, probably at a similar level to France in terms of market potential."

Segard is, as yet, undecided on whether Spain or Germany will prove to be the third most important market, saying that it requires further analysis.

In France, the company is covering all its bases. "Our strategy is to be present in all schemes in order to capture the flows wherever they go," he adds.

"We are already active in the defined benefit asset management market. We are expanding this in terms of ad-vising companies on evolving their defined benefit schemes into defined contribution and later into fonds d'épargne retraite. All this will be done alongside managing the existing employee saving schemes in France."

Segard, who has a background in asset management technology and operations, institutional marketing and fund management with Paribas, will head a team of six.The team will work with a separate Paribas group company, Generial, which will provide administration and advisory services to both pension and savings schemes either as part of an integrated package or a segmented service."

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