Danish pension fund outsources all asset management to BlackRock

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The Danish pension fund for pharmaconomists (Pensionskassen for Farmakonomer) has decided to outsource all of its asset management to US manager BlackRock in a deal it says will make it easier to be a small pension fund in Denmark.

The DKK10bn (€1.34bn) pension fund said BlackRock’s ability to help it meet increased regulatory reporting demands had been almost as important in sealing the deal as its ability to generate returns and keep costs down.

Pharmaconomists are professionals in Denmark who are qualified experts in pharmaceuticals.

Peter Bache Vognbjerg, chief executive of the 7,600-member pension fund, said: “Cooperation with BlackRock serves several purposes.”

First of all, the pension fund believes BlackRock will be able to provide a stable high yield for its members and reduce costs.

“Nearly as important, however, is BlackRock’s ability to help us continue to meet the increased reporting requirements laid upon us by the authorities,” Bache Vognbjerg said, adding that this had also been an important factor in the fund’s choice of asset manager.

He said that, as a small scheme, the pension fund for pharmaconomists had to meet the same regulatory requirements demanded of big pension providers.

“This is the reason why we have chosen to ally with one of the best in the business in both asset and risk management, in order to continue to be able to meet these requirements,” he said.

Peter Beske Nielsen, head of BlackRock’s business in the Nordic countries, said the asset manager was grateful for the trust the pension fund was putting in it.

“Outsourcing all or parts of asset management and risk management is more common in countries like Holland, but we are also experiencing growing interest from Danish pension funds and insurance companies,” he said.

Denmark’s independent labour-market pension funds have come under pressure in recent years to merge with larger commercial pension providers, particularly because of more onerous reporting and reserve level demands from regulators.

The then-chairman of the pharmaconomists’ pension fund Susanne Engstrøm said in April last year that the fund would not merge with a big commercial provider, in reaction to an invitation from PFA for smaller pension funds to merge with it.

She said this was not more than could be managed even by small organisations, even though a regulatory inspection did put pressure on resources.

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