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Fortis sees PAYG woes as an ‘opportunity'

NETHERLANDS - Dutch asset management company Fortis Investment Management says the current problems facing the European pay as you go pensions systems present opportunities for asset managers.

"There are a wide range of opportunities for the asset management industry," said Fortis' Jan Lodewijk Roebroeck at a conference today. Europe's changing demographics was leading to a "permanent shock to pay as you go social security systems".

The fact that European pension systems are under pressure means that the full range of options has to be made available to investors, he said, leading to opportunities for asset managers.

Marc Bayot, who is a strategic advisor to Fortis and the chairman of the pension and investment committee of the Federation Europeene des fonds et societes d’investissement (Fefsi), said that whatever underlying assumption you make, it will not change the basic picture of demographic ageing and old age dependency ratios. He said there is a clear trend for the future is to combine first and second pillar systems.

The traditional one company, one pension fund scenario is "not a thing of the past" Bayot said. But, citing developments in Greece and Belgium, he sees a growing trend now towards sector pension funds.

Fortis Investment Management manages 70 billion euros in assets.

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