Loek Sibbing, former chief executive at Univest, Unilever’s asset manager, is to manage the newly launched Dutch Investment Institution (NII), which will act as a broker between institutional investors and local companies in need of long-term financing.

Sibbing said the private institution would focus on infrastructure, energy, care and SMEs, as well as investments in sustainability.

“The scale of this kind of project, in combination with a lack of specific expertise on risk and return among investors, often hampered financing,” he said.

“By removing these barriers, the NII can make more institutional assets available for the Dutch economy.”

The foundation of the NII was financed by a large number of Dutch institutional investors, including the large pension funds PFZW, PME and PMT and asset managers PGGM and MN. 

These parties, as well as other Dutch and foreign institutional players, can invest through the NII, which will be operational shortly.

It has already fleshed out investment options, including the financing of SMEs, housing corporations, infrastructure and healthcare.

In addition, it has designed an assessment framework for future finance requests.

In other news, property investor Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance has seen signs that the Dutch property market is improving.

In its forecast for the coming years, it said domestic rental property and mortgages were in demand by pension funds.

“We are seeing a turn for all Dutch property markets, including the upmarket retail and offices sectors,” said chief executive Henk Jelgersma, who added that many assets were available for “a solid mix of return and certainty”.

“Moreover, we are noticing that foreign investors are also showing an increased interest in Dutch property.”

Syntrus Achmea RE&F, which has €14bn of assets under management for 50 pension funds, said it spotted opportunities in particular for domestic rental property in the mid segment.

Jelgersma: “Demand for rental property is structurally increasing, following population growth and population ageing.”

He said approximately 10,000 homes were needed in the Dutch Randstad, adding that pension funds’ interest in domestic mortgages was considerable.

“Pension funds convert part of their government bonds into mortgages – for better returns with a similar risk profile,” he said.

“The yield difference between government bonds and mortgages has increased to 200 basis points, which is a very good premium for slightly increased risk and a lower liquidity.”