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Agoria picks managers for fledgling fund

Agoria, formerly FabriMetal – Belgium’s first sector-wide pension fund, for employees working in metal related industries, will begin transferring Bfr2bn (e50m) in assets to four money managers this month. The move will be scrutinised by other industry sectors in the country considering creating pension funds on the back of the recently approved Vandenbroucke law.
Agoria, which represents around 2,000 firms with 150,000 employees, has chosen four managers to begin investing the assets for its fledgling fund; Belgium’s KBC Asset Management, AXA Investment Managers in France, Cordius Asset Management in Brussels and Bank Nagelmakers, with State Street to provide the fund’s custody.
Fritz Potemans, an adviser at the Agoria fund, comments: “They have mixed mandates at this moment, not specialised, with 40% in equities and 60% in bonds.
“But in a few years we expect to switch to 60% shares and 40% bond mandates with more specialisation.”
Potemans says AXA and KBC will both manage one third of the fund’s assets with Cordius and Nagelmakers receiving one sixth each.
The fund is also to raise its employer contributions rate from 1% to 1.5%, following the current round of wage negotiations:“In the future we will go a bit further of course but in this period we have agreed on the 0.5% rise,” adds Potemans.
Potemans says he sees a number of other sectors considering the implementation of pension funds, but that it will take time for them to come to fruition: “What I see is that some sectors, particularly those related to the metal sector, such as the automobile repair sector are looking at starting their own sector funds in 2002.
“The largest sectors don’t want to do it at this moment, because they are waiting for the legislation to appear in its final form, and there are still some final technical problems to be resolved.”
Belgian sectors already cited as looking closely at the pension issue include the textile and chemical industries.

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