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Dutch transport pension fund to sue Goldman Sachs AM [updated]

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  • Dutch transport pension fund to sue Goldman Sachs AM [updated]

NETHERLANDS - Vervoer, the €11bn pension fund for the Dutch transport sector, is planning to sue its former fiduciary manager Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM).

Walter Brand, director at the scheme, told IPE's sister publication IPNederland that the claim, which will seek as much as €250m in damages, would be filed with the High Court in London later today.

He said the lawsuit would focus on the scheme's assets and their disappointing performance in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

"We left Goldman for good reason, and eventually we concluded that we should file suit," he said.

Brand could not comment further on the claim until it had been filed, but he did say that "all the details would become clear" once the 70-page suit had been recorded.

For its part, GSAM questioned the merits of Vervoer's complaint.

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A spokesperson said: "We acted prudently and complied with our mandate, fulfilling our obligations to our client.

"We have not yet seen a claim, but believe one would be without merit based on the facts of the situation, and we would certainly contest it."

Brand there was no connection between Vervoer's lawsuit and the April 2010 suit filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which claimed Goldman Sachs had knowingly misled investors over the sale of certain mortgage-backed securities - a case that came to light only after the pension fund had already terminated its contract with the asset manager.

In the run-up to the crisis, a number of Dutch pension funds that had invested in a global tactical asset allocation strategy run by GSAM confirmed to IPE that they had been deeply disappointed with its performance.

At the time, all but one of the pension funds IPE spoke with confirmed that the strategy's performance had been very poor in 2006 and the first four months of 2007.

In April 2010, Brand told IPNederland that this underperformance had been the key reason behind Vervoer's decision to drop GSAM.

"You can talk endlessly about a good fit and all that, but, in the end, what it's really about is securing a pension for our plan participants, and to do that, you need performance - that's the bottom line," he said at the time.

"The investment results did not live up to what we agreed to and did not meet our objectives."

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