Former Compendeon CEO targets emerging markets
NETHERLANDS - Erik van Dijk, former chief executive and chief investment officer at Compendeon, has set up a new implemented consulting business with a strong focus on emerging markets.
In an email to clients, van Dijk said it "has been a difficult period for an implemented consultant reaching his three-year track record right in the middle of the credit crisis", and admitted the firm "did not have the financial reserves to weather the storms without additional financing".
He told IPE that at Compendeon the focus was on providing systems and software for pension funds and other institutions to use, but last year he noticed there was a growing interest in a "total solution' approach, where the consultant is more involved in the process and incorporates the system into a more general approach for asset management rather than just leaving after delivering a final report.
Van Dijk proposed to shareholders that the firm should start to offer the total solution approach but as it would be in a start-up phase it would need a new investor and the shareholders of the firm "couldn't agree on this funding round", as some suggested it was a bad time to contemplate a change of strategy.
He said "there was no choice but to go our separate ways" in February as a result, and has now established a new implemented consulting business, Lodewijk Meijer, which has a focus on risk management and portfolio optimisation with a specialism in manager selection and emerging markets.
Van Dijk claimed the new firm operates in a similar manner to an architect in that it uses the "building blocks" from asset managers to develop a 'total solution' for clientele, about the size of small to medium-sized pension plans in the Netherlands and elsewhere, as well as financial institutions in emerging markets.
That said, he added work also includes building fund-of-funds for asset managers, for example; as the correlation in emerging markets with developed markets is increasing and there is less possibility of diversification, leading to a growing interest in frontier markets, yet there are few providers in this area, so Lodewijk Meijer is working with "two potential clients to see if we can create a solution".
He confirmed the firm already has one client and is in negotiations "with a few others" but pointed out the total solutions approach is somewhat slow moving as a lot of discussions are needed to see if it can be done.
The firm - which has two other senior partners, one from a banking background and one from fixed income - is specifically seeking an additional partner either with a network in emerging markets or a party from the sector, "to give us this little bit of extra skill to allow us to be more proactive about solutions".
He also confirmed the consulting firm is in talks with another potential partner from real estate, so the firm can specialise in real estate investments as well as focus on traditional asset classes.
Van Dijk confirmed Compendeon has closed down although he noted the trustee is in negotiations with two interested parties, one of which is also in touch with Lodewijk Meijer.
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