The highly advanced Dutch pensions market has become something of a dilemma for consultants in recent years, particularly for the larger foreign companies.
As bigger Dutch funds such as ABP and PGGM have developed, carrying out their own investment management, the need for advisory influence has diminished, and many now only use consultants for highly specialist manager searches and asset liability studies - and then there is a price, albeit the lowest possible, to the detriment of the larger consultants.
However, further down the pension fund ladder, business is booming, according to Karen Daleboudt, vice president for institutional clients at ABN AMRO: Almost every smaller Dutch scheme is advised by a consultant now on actuarial matters, and so there has been a glut of business for actuarial advisers such as Rotterdam- based Dutch company Heynis & Koelman.
"Anticipating such a trend, both William Mercer and KPMG made smart moves in taking on board Dutch actuary Klein Hameveld and acquiring domestic actuaries Brans respectively, and are now enjoying the fruits of their foresight."
Erik Van Dijk, CEO at Amsterdam- based Palladyne Asset management, says: "One notable thing in the Dutch consultancy market is the good business being done by companies like Wilshire Associates in providing and helping with asset liability systems, data and information, against traditional managers searches, which are becoming less common. But on the actuarial side and in risk management, particularly with the euro in mind, there could be a massive boost to consultant revenue for those with the relevant skills and knowledge." Neverthele ss Dan Allen, vice president and principle at Amsterdam based Willshire, says: "We are seeing a lot of business in continued outsourcing of assets and research into investment structure and asset allocation, particularly concerning the implementation of the euro." Hugh Wheelan"