EUROPE - European pension funds will be keeping a watching brief over Fortis Investments in the coming months after today's developments at its parent company, as a significant number of the firms either have mandates with the asset management arm or have recently held stocks in the group.
Details of Pension Funds Online indicate the bulk of pension fund business earned by Fortis is still in Belgium and the Netherlands as documents indicate Fortis has over 200 pension fund clients in Belgium and 155 in the Netherlands.
Those among the funds listed include Belgacom, Nestle ASBL Fonds de Pensions, SKF Pension Fund, UZ-Gent Pensioenfonds alongside Ahold St PsF, Atradius - appointing Fortis as fiduciary manager last year - BP Ireland, IBM, KPMG, TNO Media and Waterbouw PsF.
Elsewhere, Fortis is understood to still be the manager of assets for Austria's Kempens Steenkolenbekken Pensioenfonds, as well as the Fonds de Compensation de la Securite Sociale in Luxembourg, the doctor's pension fund in Germany (NAEV), Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group's UK final salary scheme and the Kosovo Pensions Savings Trust.
At the same time, however, several of the large European pension funds have direct equity holdings in Fortis, such as ABP which until August was listed as the firm's second-largest shareholder behind Chinese insurer Ping An.
A spokesman for APG - the asset manager wholly-owned by and in charge of managing ABP's assets - said "it is important that confidence is restored in Fortis" and the move by the Benelux governments' is being viewed in this light.
Only last month, APG's head of corporate governance Paul Frentrop had called for governance changes at the firm as it was concerned about the structure of the company. (See earlier IPE story: ABP calls for governance change at Fortis)
The UK's Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) also reveals on its website the £33bn pension fund also held Fortis B Strip, Fortis and Fortis Bank NPV paper until 31 March 2008.
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