Cardano has bought Dutch asset manager Actiam. The British/Dutch risk consultancy and asset manager said the major reason for the acquisition is the expansion of its sustainability capabilities.
According to CEO Harold Naus, Cardano’s pension fund clients increasingly require their investments to have a clear sustainability profile. This includes the liability-driven investment (LDI) portfolios that Cardano manages on behalf of Dutch pension funds.
Naus told IPE: “On behalf of these funds, we are one of the largest buyers of green and social bonds, and we want to increase our expertise in this field.”
Besides, pension funds increasingly find it important to engage with listed companies, for example by voting at shareholder meetings, Naus added. “We want to be a strategic sustainability partner for pension funds and continue to provide added value to them with our services. That’s why we are taking this step.”
The sale of Actiam is not completely unexpected, as the firm’s parent company Athora put it up for sale in March this year. Actiam manages €21.5bn in assets on behalf of insurance companies, pension funds and banks in the Netherlands.
Cardano acquired the entire firm for an undisclosed sum, including its 80 employees.
The majority of Actiam’s assets, about €15bn, concern money of its parent firm Athora Netherlands. These include the private pension vehicle Zwitserleven and unit-linked insurance products.
Part of the deal is a strategic partnership agreement with Athora Netherlands for Cardano to manage these assets for the duration of 10 years.
After the close of the transaction, expected for the first quarter of 2022, Cardano will be managing assets totalling €58bn.
The fact that Actiam is based in the Netherlands, is also a factor. Over the years, the UK has been Cardano’s main growth engine.
As a result, most of the firm’s revenues currently come from the UK while Cardano originally is a Dutch firm headquartered in Rotterdam.
“We want to keep our Dutch identity, and besides the Netherlands is a leader in sustainable investing. In this respect, the UK is somewhat behind, which is an extra reason for us to offer our sustainable investment proposition from the Netherlands,” Naus said.
He added: “We need to be aware Actiam’s investment funds are attractive for our UK clients too. For example, Actiam is setting up an energy transition fund that currently only includes European assets. For this fund to be appealing to UK clients, it needs to have local projects too.”