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Willis and ABN Amro launch pension advice venture

DENMARK- Denmark’s largest pension broker Willis and Alfred Berg ABN Amro have entered into an agreement under which the latter will offer management advice to Willis’s unit linked clients.

As part of the deal, Alfred Berg will provide Willis’ clients with management services. Jorgen Leschly, head of funds at Willis, says Alfed Berg ABN Amro will manage the funds from a strategic and tactical asset allocation perspective, on an individual basis.

Previously pension clients took their own decisions at the outset of a unit linked pension and then failed to update, or monitor, their own allocations. “We are now making every person within a DC plan as if they were a pension fund themselves because they are getting exactly that level of advice,” says Leschly.

Unit link schemes give individuals the choice of composing the portfolio and setting the levels of risk and yield. Both parties maintain that, like DC schemes, the unit linked products are relatively complicated and require careful handling.

Willis says running unit linked products: “requires not only deep knowledge of the financial markets and the single asset types but also knowledge of how the pension profile can quantitatively be matched to the product supply. Just as important, and no less resource demanding, is the daily analysis and follow up of the client’s investments.”

The agreement marks the first time the two groupss have worked together. Says Leschly: “I did a survey of the market and I wanted to find a partner that had both global and local presence. We believe that if you want to do this diversification correctly you have to be at least familiar with all the markets and have some kind of internal information gathering that you can prove works. ABN Amro proved that they have had this working for twelve years.”

Willis is one of the largest pension brokers in Denmark with annual premium incomes of DK2.5bn. Willis has 100,000 pension clients, of which 12,000 are presently in unit linked pensions

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