Schemes take euro weekend in stride
The very biggest of the Dutch schemes have no problems in declaring the euro transition a universal success in terms of the transfer over the ' euro weekend'.
In the words of Jean Frijns, investment director of Europe's biggest fund, the ABP scheme for civil servants, It went smoothly - very smoothly - fortunately". The fund had a big team working on the project in the period up to the New Year. "Though it was the lull between Christmas and the New Year, it was very busy in our offices then," he says. "But January 4 was the real proof of the pudding," he says. "The process was really without problems."
At the country's second largest fund, PGGM, which looks after the pension provision for health workers, its chief executive Roderick Munsters was so pleased that he toasted the staff involved in the conversion, on the day the markets opened. "It took us a long time and a lot of people to change our systems to do the conversion into euros. But as for everyone else, it went just fine."
He adds: "I was able to have a glass of champagne with our people on January 4 to celebrate the successful transition to the euro."
The fund did not change allocations, it already has a half of its portfolios outside the Netherlands, but now the thinking is starting. "We are now examining whether we want to change our equities allocation process more from a country to a sector approach, but we have not made any decisions yet."
MN Services provides investment and other services to the metal workers. The scheme is the country's fourth largest.
Director of financial investments Hans Rademaker comments on the smoothness of the conversion pro-cess: "There were no problems at all, with everything going according to plan."
The only slight cause for concern he says was problems with data providers screens where some old exchange rates were displayed. "But we were surprised that overall it went so well."
MN took the opportunity on the investment side of the organisation to switch all the investment accounting to euros. "Our base currency is now the euro."
The overall scheme ac-counts are still local currency based.
Rademaker says that there is one area yet to get the euro-treatment on the investment side. "We still have to convert our direct real estate investment to euros.
"The reason for this is because we do all our dealing with local estate agents and others who have yet to make the euro switch." Property investment through funds has been converted. Fennell Betson"