AXA Investment Managers will no longer give priority to fiduciary management in the Dutch market. The French asset manager will instead focus on attracting investment management clients.
AXA IM is on the verge of losing its last fiduciary client in the Netherlands, the €1.2bn pension fund of sugar producer Cosun, according to trade publication Pensioen Pro. The firm and the pension fund declined to comment, but Cosun told its members in January it will soon inform them about their choice for a new fiduciary manager.
AXA IM has run the Cosun fiduciary mandate for the past 13 years.
The announcement comes just weeks after Ahold Delhaize Pensioen said it will switch its fiduciary management to Achmea Investment Management in July.
Hans Stoter, head of AXA IM Core, said his firm decided “a long time ago” to focus on institutional asset management rather than offering advice.
“We noticed that customers found it difficult to buy both asset management and fiduciary services from the same firm. Because asset management is our core activity, this is what we choose for,” he said.
According to AXA IM, the strategic decision will not impact its current staff structure.
Stoter’s assertions are somewhat surprising, since Ahold Delhaize Pensioen’s executive vice president for investments, Eric Huizing, said in March that AXA IM last year proved eager to continue its fiduciary mandate with the pension fund.
However, the French asset manager was dropped from the selection process during the first exploratory phase.
AXA IM’s decision fits in with the wider trend of foreign fiduciary managers quitting the Dutch market. Lombard Odier, SEI and Allianz Global Investors have all ended their fiduciary services in the Netherlands during the last couple of years.
It was reported last week that Aon’s Dutch fiduciary plans were running aground as well.
AXA IM will continue to offer liability-driven investing (LDI) in the Netherlands. Among others, the French asset manager runs a large LDI mandate for ING’s pension fund as well as for Cosun’s matching portfolio.
Additionally, the manager offers investment funds and discretionary mandates in equities and fixed income to its institutional clients. These services are all classified as ‘core services’ by AXA IM.