NETHERLANDS - The €8bn Dutch retailers pension fund has ended its asset management mandate with Syntrus Achmea, the Dutch asset manager and pensions provider of insurance group Eureko.

The scheme has instead appointed BlackRock as its fiduciary manager, spokespersons for the scheme, Syntrus Achmea and BlackRock have confirmed.

Syntrus spokesman Erik van der Struijs told IPNederland, IPE's sister publication, that the scheme made its decision last year and that the assets had already been transferred.

Syntrus Achmea will continue as the scheme's pensions administrator, "so it is not the case that we lost the retail fund as a customer", Van der Struijs added.
Another Syntrus customer - the €8bn industry-wide agriculture scheme - is in the process of selecting a manager, with a handful of managers still in the race, Syntrus Achmea among them.

The pension fund is expected to reach a decision after the summer.

Van der Struijs said: "The market has become more dynamic, and it is no longer taken for granted that pension funds contract with a single provider for the full range of services they need. So it makes sense that some customers will get some of those services from other providers."

In May, the industry-wide grocery pension fund left Syntrus, hiring Kempen Capital Management to manage its €2bn assets.

The previous year, Syntrus lost several other pension fund clients, including the bakers' pension fund, the scheme for sheltered employment, PWRI and the film and movie theatre scheme.

"On the other hand," Van der Struijs added, "we gained seven new clients since the beginning of last year, and a recent study shows that customer satisfaction is on the rise."

In terms of assets under management, the new mandates, which totalled approximately €1bn, do not make up for the outflow.

Then again, Syntrus - which now has AUM of €62bn - expects to be appointed to manage Eureko's €93bn of assets after 2013.

"So we don't feel that coverage in the financial media claiming that our assets are being 'drained' really applies to us," said Van der Struijs.