As of mid-September, the $4bn (€3.4bn) emerging market debt (EMD) team of Dutch pension asset manager MN will be integrated with NN Investment Partners’s (NN IP) own EMD team.

The transfer includes the EMD mandates of MN’s main clients, the metal schemes PMT and PME.

MN’s EMD team of six will join the NN IP desk at its office in The Hague, where MN is also based.

The transfer had been in the works for about nine months and was “slighty delayed by the coronavirus”, an MN spokesman said. “This transfer will not change anything for our clients, other than the fact the combined team offers a greater knowledge base and more skills,” he added.

MN’s director of asset management Hein Brans said the transfer of the company’s EMD team to NN IP, which does not involve a fee, is “the best solution for our clients”.

“In this scenario we can continue to offer competitive fees, tap in to the extensive EMD knowledge of NN IP, enhance our client servicing and increase continuity,” Brans said in a press release.

NN IP claimed that as a result of the transfer, which will see its EMD assets under management rise to $16bn, its EMD team will become “one of the most prominent EMD capabilities globally.”

The move will increase NN IP’s EMD headcount to 25, bringing the desk “back to full strength” after the departure of part of the team, including its head Marcelo Assalin, in November last year.

Assalin left over a disagreement on NN IP’s sustainability policy, which is going to be a priority going forward.

“The team will prioritise ESG integration in our decision-making process for our portfolios,” a NN IP spokesperson said. Mid-July, shortly after the new EMD head Marcin Adamczyk started his role, NN IP had already launched an EMD hard currency fund with an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) filter.

The merger with the MN unit means the ESG-adjusted EMD benchmark MN developed together with metal scheme PMT last year will now also become available to NN IP’s institutional clients.

Though as yet there are no concrete plans to increase co-operation with NN IP in other fields, MN is open to doing so at a later stage, a spokesperson said.

“We don’t have a list of priorities for strategic co-operation with NN IP, but at the same time there’s no reason to avoid further co-operation,” he added.

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