BELGIUM – The globalisation of pension funds by multinational companies cost Petercam Asset Management two to three mandates over the past year.

“This is a trend we have seen over the past two to three years. Multinationals are re-organising local funds into global funds," said spokesperson Francis Heymans.

"Petercam is a small player, and they are looking to the big asset management houses,” he said.

However, they have also seen mandates coming in from pension funds and insurers “looking for more specialised and really good asset managers,” said Heymans.

According to the firm’s annual report, it saw a €2bn increase in institutional assets over the past half year despite the mandate losses.

Institutional assets managed have climbed from €5.6bn to between €7.5bn and €8bn. Heymans says total assets stand at over €11bn.

Petercam - a boutique asset manager specialising mainly in European equities and bonds – attributes the increase to receiving between 10 and 15 new mandates.

While no client names were mentioned, Heymans confirmed that “competitive centres of large French and European banks” had shown interest.

Petercam’s biggest market outside Belgium is France and Luxembourg. It also has a focus on Switzerland and Scandinavia, and in July it hired two staff from Stichting Ahold Pensioenfonds to assist with its entry into the Netherlands.

The asset managers – which grew out of the private banking arena and has 17 active partners - have also made a move towards more specialised mandates over the last 18 months.

“This is a favourable trend for Petercam, given our ‘specialist boutique’ image, expertise and track record in the institutional market in Europe,” said the annual report.

“We focus on what we are good at,” commented Heymans.