NETHERLANDS - The planned code of conduct for fiduciary managers pitching services to Dutch pension funds will take the shape of a quality mark, IPE has learnt.

Bart Heenk, managing director of SEI's Dutch operation, told IPE in an interview a hallmark would make it easier for pension funds to work with the serious players.

"There are quite a few parties on the Dutch market who claim to be a fiduciary manager, some have real capacity, while others do not - so it is hard for pension funds to see the forest for the trees," he said.

News broke last week revealing Loek Sibbing, chairman of the Dutch Association of Corporate Pension Funds (OPF) and managing director of the Unilever pension fund ‘Progress', together with two unnamed fiduciary managers, is developing a fiduciary code of conduct.

Heenk told IPE SEI has been approached informally by one of fiduciary managers to cooperate in drafting this code of conduct, which is expected to be launched by the end of the year.

"If we can, in one way or another, attach a quality mark, it will become a bit easier [for pension funds] to deal with serious parties, so that you can save a lot of time when you enter a selection procedure," he added.

According to Heenk, fiduciary management has a legal basis in the US, but this is not the case in the Netherlands since the pension fund management is always responsible.

"As such that is fine, but in the US it is possible for an outsourcing provider to take on part of the risk, so if a pension fund were sued by one of the stakeholders, the asset manager or outsourcing provider would also have to sit in the dock," explained Heenk.

Since there is a lack of such a legal basis in the Netherlands, the industry now wants to draft a set of minimum quality demands to which fiduciary manager should adhere.

The OPF has now said in a written statement: "Our chairman, Mr. A.J.M. Sibbing, has made an appeal towards the fiduciary management industry to reach code for fiduciary managers. It is currently being contemplated how such a code might look like. The OPF is also involved in this process but it is still not clear what the code will look like. Those involved are striving to present a result towards the end of 2008."