Dutch funds' PZH picks Vanguard for e450m mandate

NETHERLANDS- PZH, the body working on behalf of six medium-sized Dutch funds that began co-ordinating their operations earlier this year, has awarded Vanguard Investment a e450m passive mandate.

PZH has asked the US manager to run e150m in European equities, e200m in European government bonds and e100m in US equities for four of the six funds.

The win takes Vanguard’s total Dutch pension fund assets to e2bn since it came to the Netherlands in June 1999. Earlier this year the metal workers’ fund PMI appointed it to run e500m in European and US government bonds.

The six funds- PBO-Dienstverlening, Hollandsche Beton Groep, Koninklijke Volker Wessels Stevin, P & C Groep, BPF voor het Baggerbedrijf and TNO- are embarking on a project that, if successful, will see them operate as one.

Now based in a jointly-built office in Rijswijk, they intend to co-ordinate every aspect of running the schemes including investment management, custody, administration and IT systems.

At the project’s outset earlier this year, spokesman Loek Sibbing suggested a lot of assets managed in-house would end up with external managers and that the schemes would pool their funds to negotiate lower management fees.

Between them the six funds have 60,000 participants, assets of e4.3bn and now a team of 75 managing the alliance. Earlier this year, Cornelis de Krijger, formerly head of asset management of Schroders’ pension group, joined to oversee overall management of the project.

Neither the construction fund (KVWS) nor the dredgers fund (Baggerbedrijf) has appointed Vanguard. The former is a reinsurance scheme and so without assets to allocate to managers while the latter has yet to make any appointments. Mr Sibbing was unavailable for comment.

Vanguard will receive the money gradually. Says Henk Beets, head of pension funds at Vanguard’s European operation: “there will be some transition as they have to get the assets back from their former managers.”

At present the six funds use two custodians but this will be cut to one- whether this will be one of the two or a new appointment is undecided.

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