NETHERLANDS – Fortis Investments has appointed Alexander Van Aken to the new position as global head of liability driven investment.

Van Aken, who was senior portfolio constructor with Fortis Investments’ asset allocation team since 2000, will be the “link” between the firm’s investment teams (asset allocation and fixed income, especially), said Fortis.

Based in Amsterdam, he will also be responsible for taking the development of existing LDI products forward. In addition, he will “drive” the related commercial effort internally and externally, and produce research and marketing materials.

According to a Fortis spokesperson, while Van Aken is the global head of LDI, there is a focus on Europe at present.

“Further improvement of global coverage will strongly depend on the development of the business in Europe,” she told IPE.

Until now, the development of Fortis’ LDI concept was managed by a project team, which crossed the investment, marketing and sales departments. Approximately a year ago, it was involved in the establishment of seven large Luxembourg-based leveraged LDI pools, said the spokesperson.

Van Aken - with 16 years of business experience - said he’s “very excited” by the new position.

“We believe LDI is more than just duration extension. It’s more about efficient allocation of the client’s risk budget. And although bonds play an important role here, other asset classes like equities, real estate and alternatives are just as important,” he said.

According to Fortis, LDI solutions are a “major theme” in the institutional marketplace. “The concept of LDI will not be a temporary phenomenon,” said the spokesperson.

According to Fortis Investments marketing and business head Nicolas Faller, “Pension funds are looking for innovative means to match their liabilities.”

Van Aken’s former position on the asset allocation team has not been filled yet. Fortis told IPE it expects to appoint a successor “in the next couple of months.