NETHERLANDS - The €150bn asset manager Robeco is planning to unveil a cross-border pension vehicle some time this spring.
The platform - the Premie Pensioen Instelling (PPI) - will target both Dutch and foreign pension funds with low-cost and risk-transparent services, according to chief executive Roderick Munsters, who said the market had already shown a lot of interest.
"And Robeco doesn't expect to play the role of asset manager only," he added. "It also recognises additional opportunities for insurance and administration."
Munsters said Robeco wanted to increase the attractiveness of its PPI proposition to small and average-sized companies through closer co-operation with its parent company, Rabobank.
Despite last year's target of increasing its institutional assets to 60% within five years, the asset manager saw a drop to 46%.
Munsters attributed the decrease to the loss of two €2.5bn mandates and re-balancing by several clients, as well as to a large cash inflow from retail customers.
But he said he was unconcerned about the lost mandates, as "several new ones are waiting for funding".
During the presentation of Robeco's annual report, Edith Siermann, head of fixed income investments, said the company considered inflation a "forgotten risk".
"We are seeing the risk of a substantially higher inflation building up following a growing middle class in emerging countries and their changing consumption habits, as well as a shrinking working population in developed countries," she said.
"In addition, companies seem to be prepared to pass on cost increases to their customers, and high debt makes governments less willing to fight inflation."
Siermann said it was remarkable that the financial markets were still forecasting inflation of 2.4% for the next 10 years in the euro-zone.
Robeco said it was monitoring inflation closely and developing products to help clients prepare for its effects. Pension funds - almost equally divided up between Dutch and foreign schemes - account for more than half of Robeco's institutional assets.
Meanwhile, the company has established a new 35-staff business unit called Robeco Pension Solutions.
The asset manager has increased its focus on the pension market since Munsters - former chief investment officer of the €239bn civil service scheme ABP - took the helm at Robeco 18 months ago.
With €150bn of assets, Robeco's assets under management are at the highest level ever.