NETHERLANDS - APG Group, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dutch pension fund for the government and education sectors ABP, is now developing the next stage of its international expansion plans following its recent merger with rival firm Cordares.

IPE has learnt APG Group will rename APG Investments on Sunday 1 March as APG Asset Management and rebrand its overseas subsidiaries as APG Asset Management Asia from Monday 2 March and APG Asset Management US Inc. in April 2009.

While APG Investments and Cordares' asset management arm are currently separate entities, they will be merged as a single operation mid way through the year, a spokesman for APG has confirmed.

The APG asset management division currently manages the assets of its €173bn parent pension fund but Cordares has already won the group its first external mandate to manage pension fund assets, as PensPlan, the Italian pension provider, gave it a mandate to manage €100m in assets in October 2008. (See earlier IPE story: APG Group signs cross-border dealwith PensPlan)

Preparations for the group's international expansion into the market would support the group's intended drive to pick up external business, as cited by Jaap Maassen, APG's director of pension administration, last year, when he confirmed APG was keen to win new business from large, mainly defined benefit type pension funds, as well as offer its asset management skills. (See earlier IPE story: APG eyes European pension assets)

IPE also understands APG is now embarking on the key element of its bid to compete with mainstream asset managers for pension fund business as the firm is understood to be developing 14 investment strategies to be taken to the wider market.

APG was officially spun off as a separate but wholly-owned entity of ABP pension fund on 3 March last year, and then entered into a merger agreement with Cordares in April last year which gave APG a 51% share of the other firm.

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