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F&C catches the fiduciary wave

NETHERLANDS - F&C Asset Management is planning to enter the popular Dutch fiduciary market later this year, having lost several Dutch pension fund mandates, IPE has learned.

Jacob de Wit, head of fixed income at the London-based asset manager, told IPE today: "We are absolutely working on our fiduciary proposition and we are not planning to disappoint our existing clients."

The company is currently holding discussions with clients and consultants and expects to launch the new business later this year.

De Wit did not want to go into further details, because of ongoing discussions F&C is conducting in the Netherlands with consultants and clients: "We are currently putting the last efforts into the design [of the new business]."

De Wit made his comments in reaction to claims the asset management firm has recently suffered institutional outflows from the Dutch market in particular.

Only yesterday, Dutch pension fund Horeca, the €2.7bn industry-wide fund for the Dutch hotel and catering sector, announced it had replaced F&C because the fujnd felt the asset manager's performance did not "meet expectations".

De Wit explained this does not mean his firm underperformed but the fund had apparently expected an outperformance which was "significantly higher than the benchmark".

He also dismisses claims suggesting his company is suffering from dramatic institutional outflows, noting instead the fiduciary market trend currently gathering pace in the Netherlands has seen pension funds taking a different course when replacing managers.

"It is just a market trend, which did not make or break the performance of F&C as an individual asset manager," he said.

Where there's smoke does not necessarily mean there's fire, stressed De Wit.

"A few of the performance discussions go back to a few years when poor equity performances had an impact on portfolios, though almost all balances managers felt this impact."

He added F&C performance is currently experiencing an upward trend again.

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