The Dutch asset managers Achmea IM, Blue Sky Group and SPF Beheer have established a joint platform for co-investments in private equity.

The companies, which jointly manage €172bn, said the collaboration aimed to significantly reduce costs.

“Although an external specialist would be needed for the adequate implementation of the programme, costs could be more than halved,” said Jos van Gisbergen, senior portfolio manager for private equity at Achmea IM.

Pension fund clients would be able to decide each year how much they each wanted to invest.

Private equity funds usually charge management fees based on assets including cash yet to be invested, and lock that cash in for several years. However, the new investment platform said that, if not all committed assets were used during the year due to a lack of available deals, assets would be returned.

The pension fund clients of the three asset managers have invested 3-5% of their entire portfolio on average in private equity, most of which is allocated to pooled funds.

Achmea IM has allocated 10% of its private equity holdings to co-investments and, according to Van Gisbergen, the company aimed to double this allocation in the coming years. 

Van Gisbergen said that the fund for 2019 comprised more than €100m, which would be largely invested in small and medium-sized companies with a market value of between €200m and €300m.

Achmea, Blue Sky and SPF are to jointly take a minority stake, which would be scaled up to majority holdings through co-investment by a private equity fund.

The three players expected that their combined clout would make them qualify sooner for co-investment deals.

Van Gisbergen said: “In the past, we had little access to deals, as the large players, such as the €215bn PGGM, would be involved earlier.”

Blue Sky Group runs €22bn for three schemes sponsored by Dutch airline KLM, while SPF Beheer manages €20bn for clients including the railways scheme SPF and the public transport pension fund SPOV.

Achmea IM is the €130bn asset manager for institutional investors, insurer Achmea and general pension fund Centraal Beheer APF, part of the Achmea group.