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Aon Hewitt Netherlands to refocus on fiduciary management

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Aon Hewitt Netherlands wants to expand its fiduciary management and investment advice services as part of a strategic re-orientation.

Aon is looking to increase its footprint in Europe, and Germany and Italy in particular, Pascal Hogenboom, the company’s chief executive in the Netherlands, told IPE. This was based on the company’s fiduciary experience gained in the UK and the US.

“We want to extend our activities in both fields,” he said. “For fiduciary management we seek non-organic growth, through a partnership or take-over of an organisation in the Netherlands.”

He added that his firm was also seeking a partnership with an IT company for its pension administration operations.

Currently, Aon Netherlands provides investment advice on €48bn of assets, while its fiduciary management comprises approximately €100m of Dutch pension assets in United Pensions, Aon’s Belgium-based cross-border pension fund.

In the UK, the company runs roughly £12bn (€14.2bn) for fiduciary management clients.

Regarding its administration plans, Hogenboom said Aon was seeking co-operation with an IT firm or another pensions administrator, in order to deal with the fast developments on both pension plans and communication, as well as technology.

According to Hogenboom, the consultancy expected to make significant investments in the medium term to keep its IT systems up-to-date.

“Doing nothing would mean that we would be running backward, and is therefore not an option,” he said.

Hogenboom added that a future partner for pensions administration must also have international ambitions.

Recently, Aon outsourced the administration of United Pensions to APG subsidiary Inadmin, in part because of Inadmin’s international aspirations.

Hogenboom emphasised that Aon would continue with its cross-border scheme, which is to also implement defined contribution (DC) arrangements soon.

“As the principles are much more uniform, DC plans are much easier to implement across Europe than the defined benefit arrangements, which are usually very country-specific,” he explained.

Hogenboom indicated that his company is in talks with several players about co-operation. However, he didn’t exclude the transfer of its pensions administration as a second option.

Currently, Aon Hewitt is pensions administrator of predominantly DB plans for 20 Dutch company pension funds. Earlier this month Aon Hewitt sold its US benefits administration business to Blackstone, a US-based asset manager.

Hogenboom said that Aon wanted to make important decisions regarding its business this year, but emphasised that it would inform its clients “timely and decently” about changes.

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