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PFZW, APG 'closely monitoring' developments in Ukraine conflict

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  • Moscow, Russia

Dutch pension funds are “closely monitoring” the evolving conflict in Eastern Ukraine and assessing the possible effects of further sanctions against Russia on their investments in the region. 

The €151.5bn healthcare scheme PFZW said its direct stake amounted to €1.5bn in Russian government bonds, equities and corporate loans.

A spokeswoman for the pension fund said: “Currently, the risk that we will need to mark down our direct investments is small, although we may incur temporary losses due to turmoil in the financial markets.”

She said losses in a worst-case scenario were likely to be limited, as two-thirds of PFZW’s direct investments in Russia are in government bonds, in custody with Euroclear in Brussels.

However, she also conceded that the consequences for PFZW’s indirect stakes – investments in non-Russian companies with Russian subsidiaries or joint ventures – could be much greater, “as they could affect a larger part of the portfolio”.

She said this would particularly be the case if “significant financial sanctions were applied or local interests being nationalised”.

The spokeswoman stressed that the effects would largely depend on the shape of any further sanctions the EU might apply. 

“Therefore, we are closely monitoring the situation to assess if and what adjustments are necessary for our portfolio,” she said.

The spokeswoman added that PFZW was committed to abiding by any sanctions issued by European governments.

Her sentiment was echoed by Harmen Geers, spokesman at APG, the €374bn asset manager for the €309bn civil service scheme ABP.

However, he declined to elaborate on the potential effects of developments in the region on APG’s investments in Russia, citing a lack of clarity on sanctions issued so far.

He said APG had a €2bn stake in listed equity and credit in the Russian Federation, but that it did not have any government bonds holdings.

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