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Pension fund for Denmark’s pharmaconomists plans pact with peer

The Danish pension fund for pharmaconomists (Pensionskassen for Farmakonomer) says it is now looking for another pension fund to partner with, having outsourced all investment to BlackRock last year.

The DKK9.9bn (€1.3bn) labour-market pension scheme – the smallest independently run pension fund in Denmark – announced it had invited pension funds and companies to bid for the job of being its new partner.

The move was aimed at ensuring continued independence and greater value for its members, the fund said.

Henrik Klitmøller Rasmussen, the pension fund’s chairman, said: “This is a process with an unbelievable number or details we are going through.”

He said the fund had laid out a range of strategic premises it was asking the field of potential cooperation partners to give their position on.

These premises had been structured as 60-70 concrete questions potential partners have been given to show how they would be able to solve the given issue, he said.

“We have been helped by the consulting firm PwC to identify pension funds that most resemble us and who will be likely to be able to solve the task,” he said.

The law firm Kromann Reumert is to assist in negotiations when the best candidates are selected in late spring or early summer, Klitmøller Rasmussen said.

Pharmaconomists are specially qualified experts in the field of pharmaceuticals.

In December 2015, the pharmaconomists’ pension fund decided to outsource all of its asset management to US manager BlackRock and said the asset manager’s ability to help it meet increased regulatory reporting demands was almost as important to the pension fund’s management as its ability to produce returns and keep costs down.

Because it is the smallest pension fund with independent administration, the fund said it had a tradition of using external cooperation partners.

External partners were used for investment operations, with activities having been outsourced to Sparinvest for many years, and BlackRock from 2016, the pension fund said.

For many years, the fund said it had also worked with outside companies in the field of IT, such as Edlund and the firm IT-afdelingen.

Many of Denmark’s independent labour-market pension funds have merged with larger commercial pension providers in recent years, as well as with larger labour-market pension funds such as Sampension.

The growing burden of reporting and reserve demands from regulators is behind the trend, as well as the competitive pressure to lower costs through economies of scale.

Nearly three years ago, the then-chairman of the pharmaconomists’ pension fund Susanne Engstrøm said the fund would not merge with a big commercial provider.

The pension fund for pharmacologists is without a permanent chief executive, following the retirement of Peter Bache Vognbjerg, which was announced last October.

Henrik Bernhardt is the fund’s acting chief executive.

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