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Dutch asset manager Robeco will cease offering fiduciary services to pension funds and insurers, it has said.

The decision of the €186bn pure play asset manager followed the departure of its largest customer, the €30bn Dutch sector pension fund for private road transport (Vervoer), which left for Achmea Investment Management earlier this year.

At the time, Robeco was not able to say what this would mean for its fiduciary management, but indicated that the profitability of this part of its business was already limited.

As a consequence of the asset manager’s decision, the four schemes still using Robeco for fiduciary management are to find these services elsewhere.

The pension funds for marine pilots (Loodsen), the meat, cold meat and snacks industry (VLEP), the agricultural and food trade sector (AVH), and Robeco’s own pension fund had €6bn of fiduciary managed assets in total with Robeco.

John Klijn, VLEP’s employee chairman, today said his pension fund had selected BMO Global Asset Management as new fiduciary manager for its entire €3.1bn portfolio, including the management of its liability-driven investment (LDI) holdings.

He said that BMO had offered the best proposition “because of its tailored approach and its ability to empathise with VLEP’s specific position”.

Rogier van Harten, BMO’s head of institutional distribution and client management for continental Europe, said that in the past two years BMO had invested in its Dutch organisation “to serve its customers optimally in an increasingly complex environment”.

On its website, Loodsen said it had started discussions with two candidates. AVH, the pension fund for the agricultural and food trade sector, could not be contacted for a comment.

Tom Steenkamp, chairman of Robeco’s scheme, said he couldn’t provide any clarity yet about a new fiduciary manager for his pension fund.

Fiduciary activity transfer expected H2 2020

Currently, less than 20 Robeco staff are involved in fiduciary management. The company said that a limited number would be made redundant.

Robeco said it expected that it could transfer all its fiduciary activities in the second half of 2020.

Robeco explained that another reason for ceasing its fiduciary management was that it could better serve its clients in other ways.

The asset manager – part of Japanese firm Orix since 2013 – said that it would keep focusing on investment strategies for sustainable investment, quant and factor investing, credit, equity emerging markets and Asia Pacific as well as on trend and thematic investments.

It added that it would also keep on offering multi-asset and LDI strategies, as well as voting services at annual general meetings and engagement with companies.

Last year, Robeco sold its manager selection division Corestone. Several executive board members have left since 2013. Lukas Daalder, chief investment officer, Harry Horlings, director for institutional business development and Jacqueline Lommen, specialist for European pensions, have taken roles at other firms.

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