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Foreign managers' Dutch inroads

Foreign investment managers will soon overtake their Dutch counterparts in overseeing the country’s pension fund assets according to the 2002 report by consultant Bureau Bosch into the Dutch investment industry. The report covers 78 managers and is seen as a definitive guide to the Dutch pension fund investment market.
Foreign managers continue to dominate the top three positions as the country’s largest managers although the top 15 position are predominantly taken up with Dutch managers. Barclays Global Investors, F&C and State Street Global Advisors are the largest managers with a respective €39.5bn, €30bn and €26.5bn (see page 51).
Completing the top 10 are ING Investment Management (€26.1bn), Robeco (€24.2bn), Mn Services (€17.6bn), ABN Amro Asset Management (€17.2bn), SFB (€17bn), Schootse Poort (€16.3bn) and SPF Beheer (€12.3bn).
Levels of new foreign entrants to the market appear to have stabilised. A growing number of foreign managers have opened sales offices in the Netherlands but the report suggests the number has levelled out. Foreign managers now account for €145bn, or 45%, of the total. This is up from 32% in 2001 and 22% as far back as 1993.
Bosch’s report lists the fastest growing foreign managers as F&C, State Street, Lombard Odier, Capital International, Robeco, Invesco, Palladyne, Morgan Stanley and Rogge.
A number of large Dutch pension funds that present themselves as commercial asset managers are new on the market, such as MN Services which manages €17.6bn. This trend will continue, according to the report, as some sponsors regard their pension fund as a profit centre.
Of the foreign managers, it is the Americans that continue to dominate. US managers account for 28.7% of the total assets (compared with the local managers’ 55%), British managers run 11.5%, the Swiss 3.2% and the Germans 1.2%.
The report finds that there is a continuing tendency to externalise the management of pension assets. At the start of the year, total institutional assets managed externally ran to €309bn or 68% of the €456bn overall market.
This is up from 51% in 1991 and almost double the 1993 level when only 40% of pension fund assets were managed externally. Author of the report Frits Bosch says the precise percentage of external money could be marginally higher since a few small managers did not participate in the survey.
Bosch’s report finds that the top 10 managers manage less in relative terms but more in absolute terms. Of the 78 investment managers surveyed, the top-10 managers run €227bn or 73% of Dutch pension fund assets managed externally.
Indexation, which has proved so popular with Dutch funds in recent years, also appears to have reached a plateau according to the report. Barclays Global Investors and State Street Global Advisors, both index managers, now manage E66bn between them.

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