BNP Paribas AM is retaining aspirations to grow in the Dutch pension market, despite losing its largest fiduciary mandate in the country to Achmea Investment Management last year.

joost hoppener bnp paribas

Joost Höppener (left) and Raymond de Kuiper.

“We keep eyeing growth opportunities and are open to new customers,” said Raymond de Kuiper, head of client solutions Netherlands at the firm, responding to a question about the future of the firm’s fiduciary business in the country.

Last August, the pension fund for Dutch health insurance firms, €6bn SBZ Pensioen, swapped BNP Paribas AM for Achmea IM as its fiduciary manager, ending a relationship of 15 years.

Speaking to IPE’s sister publication Pensioen Pro, De Kuiper and head of sales Joost Höppener voiced regret but also understanding about SBZ’s decision to leave to Achmea IM.

The latter firm already has experience with defined contribution schemes which will be the norm in the new Dutch pension system that will gradually come into force over the next few years.

Over the past few years, several asset managers decided to throw the towel on fiduciary management after losing their biggest client. Examples include Robeco, which saw the pension fund for the transport sector Vervoer depart, and AXA IM, that also switched to Achmea IM in 2021.

According to Pensioen Pro data, BNP Paribas AM now only provides fiduciary services to two company pension funds (Croda and Staples) with only €850m in assets between them.

But Höppener claims his firm still manages some €15bn in “fiduciary assets” for 10 Dutch clients, most of which are pension funds, declining to provide further detail.

Höppener appeared to use a rather broad definition of fiduciary management. “For some clients we manage the LDI portfolio and we may also give strategic advice on for example the equities portfolio. Fiduciary management is an umbrella term, and our clients use varying definitions. Sometimes you also see the fiduciary role split between several managers. At SBZ Pensioen, for example, we were their strategic adviser but Russel was in charge of manager selection and monitoring. Whether or not to consider something fiduciary management, is a question of definition,” said Höppener.

BNP Paribas has only sporadically been asked to participate in requests for information by pension funds looking for a new fiduciary over the past year, said Höppener. “Only a handful of pension funds changed their fiduciary in 2022. We are also selective and don’t take up every opportunity, especially if it’s clear from the onset that another firm will be chosen,” he added.

This article appeared originally in Pensioen Pro, IPE’s Dutch sister publication. It has been translated and adapted for IPE by Tjibbe Hoekstra.