At end-March 2004 Dutch pension fund had total assets of e480bn, according to the latest Bureau Bosch report on Trends of the Dutch Investment Management Market*. And some e316bn of Dutch institutional assets were managed externally, up from e296.6bn a year earlier.
At the top of the rankings the report found Dutch managers were dominant, taking most places in the top 15, after foreign managers Barclays Global Investors and State Street Global Advisors claimed the first and second spots. It also found that US and Dutch managers posted the greatest increase in assets. However, the Dutch lead appeared to be waning. It noted that while 64.4% of the e316bn was managed by 20 Dutch managers, this was down from 66.9% in 2003, while 35.6.7% was managed by 42 foreign managers, up from 33.1%.
But what is the position in the middle of the rankings table? Most of Theodoor Gilissen Bankiers’ institutional mandates are passive, and that, it says, is where the growth is. “We have seen two developments,” says Lodewijk van der Kroft, senior investment strategist at Theodoor Gilissen Bankiers. “The first has been a move towards specialist managers, especially for the less developed markets like small caps and emerging markets. Clearly people are looking for specialists and would rather give a specialised manager a fixed-income or equity mandate instead of having as triathlon-type of investor who is good in all three areas.
“I think over the last couple of years that people have come increasingly to realise that they are better off combining a number of specialists instead of having one generalist. And the second trend has been that the active bets that took place over the past couple of years and that have proved so painful for so many organisations are encouraging people to increasingly include to look at benchmark-related returns and has generated a move from active management to more passive management with regard to the more developed markets.
“As a smaller party we are less focused on balanced mandates and most of the larger management firms. So, as a result we’ve been quite successful attracting money into our indexed equity products.”
Erik Luttenberg, co-managing director at Kempen Capital Management, has also benefited from the move to specialists. “We have a focus on specialties like European small- and mid-cap and listed real estate funds,” he says. “What we have experienced is that we no only accommodate the big Dutch institutions if they want a speciality but also European pension funds wanting to allocate more to small- and mid-cap equities and especially the listed real estate side. So we didn’t experience those adjustments made by the bigger parties.”
And has Kempen CM felt the hot breath of foreign competition on the back of its neck? “If more money is allocated to a special sector you always find in the long run that more suppliers of the investment tool enter the market,” Luttenberg says. “But in the listed real estate area, for example, we have an excellent rack record and we have been able to establish a leading position.”
“In 2004 and even before we saw the big index managers gaining more money from institutions that we work with,” says Joost Grapperhaus, institutional marketing and sales director with SNS Asset Management. “If there’s a leakage in institutional money from foreign players that’s also the same for the mid- and small sized investment managers. We’ve seen an increase in our assets under management from foreign institutions and we also see an increase in competition from foreign asset managers. Still the main ones are the index and enhanced index providers.”
SNS Asset Management also has a speciality. “Our main product is a sustainable product,” says Grapperhaus. Our SRI product is the one that we market most and out of the e12bn we manage, about e2bn is sustainable. We have seen an increase in assets under management, and not just because of our specialisation. We also have a lot of conventional funds and they also saw an increase in assets.”
*Dutch Investment management Survey/Nederlandse Vermogensbeheerders Gids is available from Bureau Bosch Asset Consultancy, PO Box 237, 5670 CC Nuenen, the Netherlands; tel: +31 40 263 1133; e-mail