Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) will not reorganise its fiduciary teams in the UK and the Netherlands following its recent take-over of NN Investment Partners (NN IP), but will instead expand its Dutch fiduciary team.

Céline van Asselt, currently chief and risk officer at APG Asset Management, will succeed Maureen Schlejen as head of fiduciary management for continental Europe from 1 February. Schlejen left NN IP for Actiam earlier this year.

As of 15 January 2023, Karin Merkus will join from Pensioenfonds Rabobank, where she is currently chief investment officer, as a senior client advisor for fiduciary management.

According to Hester Borrie, head of Institutional Clients EMEA at GSAM, the new appointments are testament of GSAM’s ambition to invest in its newly-acquired Dutch operations.

Little overlap

GSAM chief executive officer Fadi Abuali repeated several times that there is little overlap between the activities of GSAM and NN IP. Consequently, he asserted the strategic goal of the acquisition “is growth, not rationalisation.”

The complementarity of GSAM and NN IP not only relates to their respective asset management franchises, but also to fiduciary management.

Fadi Abuali

Fadi Abuali, GSAM

The two firms’ emerging market debt strategies show most overlap, but GSAM is planning to keep the two teams “mostly intact”, according to Abuali.

“Our fiduciary team in London is focused exclusively on the UK. Before, we did not at all have a focus on fiduciary management in the Netherlands. With the acquisition of NN IP, we suddenly have a whole team now,” Abuali said.

GSAM provides fiduciary services to one Dutch pension fund, of dairy producer Campina. NN IP has approximately 40 Dutch fiduciary clients.

New client

Many pension funds at least partly chose NN IP as their fiduciary manager because of its sustainability expertise. According to Borrie, her team has been able to reassure pension funds that sustainability will remain a priority under the new US leadership.

“We have received no termination from pension funds. To the contrary, we have even won a new mandate,” said Borrie, who declined to reveal the name of the pension fund in question.

The US asset manager will conclude the rebranding of its Dutch acquisition and the integration of the investment teams into the GSAM organisation by March 2023.

The new GSAM franchise in The Hague will be its largest asset management centre in Europe, and will be the “centre of excellence” for sustainable investing.

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