IRELAND - Accounting firm KPMG says it is talking to five potential
clients, including pension funds, about asset pooling.

Paul McGowan, financial services tax partner, confirmed to IPE that the firm’s Dublin operation is talking to three pension fund managers and two pension funds, although he declined to name them.

KMPG and others are promoting the pooling as a way for institutional investors to achieve economies of scale, although only a handful of pooled vehicles have in fact been set up.

“The development of asset pooling has been much slower than expected,” McGowan told a session at the annual Fund Forum meeting in Monaco.

“But I do believe it’s going to be with us in the future.” It would become an “essential tool” in the asset management armoury.

Despite the launch of the occupational pension fund directive, true pan-European pension funds were still years away and pooling could provide a “half-way house” solution in the interim.

His colleague, Ted McGrath, said Ireland's Common Contractual Fund and its Luxembourg counterpart the Fonds Commun de Placement, were likely to be deemed as tax transparent in most jurisdictions, although there was more work needed with Japan and Australia.

It was “all to play for” between the jurisdictions. It could be that the Anglo-Saxons would go to Ireland while Continentals would go to Luxembourg. Or it could be that one would build up momentum as a pooling domicile.

McGowan also said the decision may rest with the internal politics of the corporate.