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Shell to centralise pensions assets in Rijswijk

NETHERLANDS - Shell has started to bring all its pension funds worldwide into one organisation and under one roof in Holland to create a E50bn asset management operation.

The new organisation, which will soon be managing €40bn, will operate from Rijswijk as Shell Asset Management Company, or Samco. Its managing director will be Shell Pensioenfonds Nederland's director Peter Bronkhorst.

The main reason for the merger is adding value and the possibility of attracting more qualified staff, said Bronkhorst, according to the Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad.

The first mandate - some dozens of millions of euros - has already been transferred from Austria as the start of Samco. The €15bn portfolio of the British Shell scheme is to follow in November.

"After all the 200 or so Shell schemes worldwide have joined, Samco will manage €50bn of assets", spokesman Henk Bonder said. He couldn't indicate a timetable.

In most cases only the administration and the board support of the Shell schemes elsewhere will remain. At the British scheme 41 of the 60 jobs will disappear.

According to Bronkhorst, most of the surplus staff preferred joining a new employer in the City. Only two have opted for a move to Rijswijk. The new organisation will employ 85 staff.

Bronkhorst denied reports that the choice for Rijswijk, rather than London, is due to higher returns of the Dutch scheme. "The reasons are the team concept, the investment philosophy, the IT systems and the experience with external management,’ he stated.

The British scheme invests almost all its assets itself. The Dutch fund has contracted out the management of approximately 30% of its assets, which will remain more or less the same, Bronkhorst said.

According to the director, Samco might take a decision to the scheme's pooling within a year.

Shell's decision fits into a trend, with other multinationals like Unilever, Nestlé and IBM having similar advanced plans.

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