NETHERLANDS – Robeco says it will start actively exercising its voting rights at shareholder meetings this year – and that it will put its voting record on its web site.

The disclosure comes as the Rotterdam-based asset manager reported an almost nine percent rise in assets under management.

“From this year, Robeco will actively exercise its voting rights at general meetings of shareholders,” Robeco said in a statement, adding that institutional funds would be involved.

The move concerns five retail funds, as well as “a number of institutional funds and discretionary mandates”.

The Rabobank subsidiary said that it is the first Dutch provider of investment funds to make use of this possibility on a large scale. It says it has formulated a set of principles – with its voting criteria including transparency, management pay and corporate responsibility.

It is advised by consulting firm Institutional Shareholder Services, which also takes care of administration.

Meanwhile, the firm said its total assets under management at the end of 2003 rose by 8.8% to 108.2 billion from 99.3 billion euros a year earlier.

It added that the proportion of alternatives in its total assets under management rose to 11% from eight percent while equities’ share rose to 41% from 39%. Fixed income fell to 33% from 38%.

Robeco also said it would launch Robeco Sustainable Private Equity, a private equity fund which uses sustainable investment criteria.