Klaas Knot, president at Dutch regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), has claimed that combined pension assets in the Netherlands currently amounts to nearly €1.3trn, yet no government authority seems to able to specify exactly how this amount is divided across pension funds, insurers and banks.According to the DNB, Dutch pension funds’ combined assets amounted to €996bn at the end of the second quarter.But the regulator told IPE sister publication IP Nederland that it could not produce concrete figures on the combined pension assets with insurers or banks in tax-friendly saving arrangements for pension accrual.Roald Jongejan of the Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) told IP Nederland: “The combined pension claims are woven into the overall figures of insurers. So far, we haven’t been able to draw these figures out.” Paul Koopman, spokesman for the Association of Insurers (VvV), confirmed that the scale of pension liabilities at insurers was currently unknown.However, he added that insurers estimated that they serviced about 20% of the pensions market.A spokesman for the Dutch Association of Banks (NVB) confirmed that the organisation did not collect figures on tax-friendly saving for pensions.He recommended approaching all the NVB’s 82 members individually for the relevant figures.According to a DNB spokesman, the figure cited by Knot in September was merely a rough estimate “from an internal model”, including “more than just pension assets and based on the National Accounts” – the official statistics for the national economy.However, Knot produced similar figures more recently. During a speech at the Dutch embassy in Washington DC, he said the combined pension assets of Dutch households were 212% of GDP in 2012, which amounts to almost €1.3trn.
While problems in private equity are acknowledged, it seems LPs still regard the asset class as compelling. The median respondent still expects a 5% risk premium for private equity relative to public equity, which Ziff described as “consistent” with what has been realised historically.Nearly half of respondents think that increased economic volatility has made private equity more attractive, versus just 12% who think it has become less attractive, and there is a similar split between those who plan to increase their allocation and those who plan to reduce it. By contrast, more investors plan to reduce than increase their hedge fund allocationsLPs also seem to feel they are benefitting sustainably from the level of payment- in-kind (PIK) debt issuance that is being facilitated by ‘frothy’ credit markets. Almost three-quarters of respondents think that this signals “over-exuberance” on the part of credit investors, but two-thirds feel that one of the key ways in which borrowed money is being used at the moment – dividend re-caps – is at a level appropriate for the current point in the private equity cycle.“LPs recognise that GPs [general partners] are able to access the debt markets with interest rates at fairly low levels,” said Ziff. “They like PIK debt because it’s not a drain on cash at this point in time, but the risks are there – clearly one needs to re-pay. On dividend re-caps, LPs are seeing it as a source of distributions, and that’s reflecting findings elsewhere in the survey that respondents are expecting distributions to accelerate.”The survey reveals that more than half of LPs have co-invested with GPs in the last two years, and that only one-in-ten had not been offered any co-investment opportunities over this period. The median LP currently invests 10% of its total commitments directly (on a standalone basis or via co-investment), and two-thirds of North American LPs and half of European LPs say they would like to be offered more co-investments.“Co-investment is now a growing part of an LP’s armoury,” said Ziff. “Many LPs ask for co-investment opportunities, but they have to have the ability to evaluate co-investments when they are offered – and what these results show is that half LPs do have that capability.”Part of that capability involves maintaining specialist in-house private equity teams to assess the deals. While a greater proportion of sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies and asset managers signal their intention to grow their teams over the next 12-18 months relative to the summer 2011 survey, fewer public pension funds plan to do so, and no corporate pension funds indicate that they plan to grow their teams in the new survey – down from almost 15% in 2011.“If they plan to increase their private equity allocation or do more direct investing and co-investing, they need to build their teams to do that,” Ziff said. “If they don’t intend to do either of those things then there is less need to build a team. [These results] suggest that pension plans have done the majority of their team building. Some of the larger Canadian pension funds with very significant private equity programmes, for example, have increased their teams quite dramatically over recent years.”The winter 2013-4 survey is based on a survey of 113 LPs undertaken for Coller Capital in September and October 2013. Some 41% of respondents are based in Europe, 24% of the global sample are pension funds and 17% are insurance companies. Over 75% of European limited partners (LPs) believe lower private equity returns since the financial crisis are structural and not cyclical, according to Coller Capital’s latest Global Private Equity BarometerThe six-monthly survey also suggests investors are taking advantage of what they consider to be “frothy” credit markets. It reveals a growing interest in and capacity for direct investment and co-investment, and indicates that some pension funds have completed the process of building necessary in-house private equity teams to implement these strategies.While 73% of the full sample of respondents put lower returns down to structural problems, that figure rises to 78% among European LPs.“The world has changed since the crash, with more onerous and costly regulation, lower risk appetite among investors, and rock-bottom interest rates,” said Stephen Ziff, a partner at Coller Capital. “The acceleration that LPs expect in cash calls and distributions are signs of a cyclical pick-up, but they don’t remove these structural factors.”
Andreas Zakostelsky, chairman of the FVPK, pointed out that pension funds’ exposure to equities was 35% last year, a “record high” since the start of the financial crisis.He confirmed these investments were the main driver behind the performance.As for bonds, which made up 56% of the portfolios on average, Zakostelsky said returns mainly came from fixed income issued by non-core European countries.Exposure to Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain was between 8% and 10% of the total portfolio, while only two years ago investments in bonds from the region had been “below 1%”, the FVPK chairman said.For 2014, Zakostelsky said he was optimistic the newly formed government, following elections in autumn last year, would place a greater focus on pensions.“For the first time, it is set down in a government agenda that the pension commission is to look into all three pillars of the pension system,” he said.He added that he viewed the acknowledgement as a “significant breakthrough” towards a “non-ideological, objective” way of approaching the issue of pensions.Up until now, the first pillar fell under the remit of the Social Ministry, while funded pensions were the responsibility of the Finance Ministry. Austrian Pensionskassen returned more than 5.1% for 2013, mainly due to their exposure to equities.According to data collected by the pension fund association FVPK, the 16 Austrian pension funds returned 5.14% for 2013, achieving an annual return of 5.6% since inception 23 years ago.However, their performance is down against returns of more than 8% for 2012.In total, Austrian pension funds are now managing €17.4bn in assets, an increase of almost 7% over 2012.
The correlation of returns across asset classes has also continued to be a concern, he said.“We are a very broad investor, using a risk-parity approach, but if you have a situation where diversification of returns is being suspended, this gives you cause to wonder what will happen on the way down,” Stendevad said.Quite when the day of reckoning would come was uncertain, he said.“We have different scenarios for that, but we have seen central banks pushing it further and further out,” he said.Because these consequences would eventually transpire, he said, it remained important for ATP’s investment portfolio to retain its hedge against long-term inflation, even though this was not something that was clearly needed in the short-term.“But it is very important for us strategically, to protect the fund against an outcome that would be very painful for our membership,” he said.Even though ATP’s portfolio of long-term hedging strategies against inflation increases, which consists of swaptions, made a loss of DKK3.5bn in the first half — the investment portfolio’s biggest loss in the period — these instruments would be kept, he said.“We’re very calm about it because this particular exposure is very different — it’s a strategic decision to have this insurance,” he said.Stendevad said ATP was very pleased with its overall performance in its return-seeking investment portfolio in the first half, as well as the fact that the pension fund’s administration costs have kept coming down.“In our hedging portfolio, we had a massive return, and that was offset by our rise in liabilities,” he said.ATP’s assets are divided between an investment portfolio, which consists of its bonus potential and amounted to DKK96.9bn at the end of June, and a much larger hedging portfolio consisting of long-term fixed-income instruments which was worth DKK703.2bn.ATP as a whole made a net loss on its activities in the first half of DKK4.3bn because of the DKK9.9bn provision it set aside for an estimated increase in life expectancy among its membership.The hedging portfolio alone made an overall loss of DKK700m despite its investment instruments generating DKK92.5bn, since this was less than the increase in provisions for the guaranteed pensions of DKK93bn.ATP said it had been continuing to work on lowering administration costs, and now expected them to dip to DKK52 per member for the full 2016 year, down 9% from 2015, and 24% lower than they were in 2012.“It is basically about process improvements, IT systems, making them more efficient and in our development costs, keeping them very, very focused,” Stendevad said.Commenting on the new risk-factor approach ATP adopted for its investment portfolio at the beginning of this year, as opposed to the system of risk classes it had used for several years before than, Stendevad said the approach was now completely integrated and working very nicely.Asked whether Brexit had affected ATP’s investment environment, the pension fund chief said that since the referendum result, which came shortly before the end of the first half for reporting purposes, the investment portfolio had in fact performed very strongly.“If you had asked before Brexit, we would have expected a negative impact on our portfolio, but the opposite has been true with both stocks and bonds performing better than expected,” he explained. ATP, Denmark’s DKK800bn (€107bn) statutory pension fund, remains concerned about the negative fallout bound to follow the current period of quantitative easing and historically low interest rates, even though it is has revamped its investment portfolio in part to prepare for the consequences, according to chief executive Carsten Stendevad.In an interview conducted after the pension fund published its first half results but before Stendevad announced his resignation, the chief executive told IPE: “We still have the same core concern that monetary policy has driven up all prices and the day of reckoning will come.”ATP’s main argument behind its current investment approach is that the very expansionary monetary policy adopted by central banks has affected not just the bond markets, but all markets and driven up valuations, he said.“That’s a good thing, but we always try to make a profit from fundamentals rather than assistance from the central bank,” he said.
Investment allocation of pension funds in the EEA remained broadly unchanged compared with 2015, although equity investments in the euro area increased by 2%, partly driven by higher equity exposures in the Netherlands.Preliminary data indicated that the funding situation for DB schemes improved in 2016, with average coverage ratios slightly increasing, according to EIOPA.However, Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of EIOPA, said coverage ratios “remain a concern for a number of pension funds”.The average rate of return on assets increased in 2016, which EIOPA said could be partly attributed to the strong stock market performance during the final months of last year. Overall, the authority said the European macroeconomic environment remained fragile, with some signs of improvement. Uncertainties stemming from the political environment as well as emerging risks posed challenges for both the insurance and occupational pension sectors. The 2016 occupational pension fund data used by EIOPA was preliminary and subject to revisions. UK data only referred to DB and hybrid schemes. For some statistics data from certain countries was not available.The European Central Bank is preparing a regulation on statutory reporting requirements for pension schemes, intended to help gauge pension funds’ potential impact on financial stability. Total assets held by occupational pension funds in the euro area grew by 8% in 2016, according to the latest financial stability report from the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).In the European Economic Area (EEA), total assets held by institutions for occupational pension funds (IORPs) fell by 0.2%. EIOPA said this was attributable to sterling’s substantial depreciation in 2016, “negatively affecting the euro value of total assets in country with the largest IORP sector in Europe, the UK”.Excluding the UK and the Netherlands, total European occupational pension fund assets grew by 5% in value over the course of 2016.Traditional defined benefit (DB) plans accounted for around 75% of the European occupational pension fund sector in terms of assets, according to EIOPA.
Bill Galvin, USS group chief executive, said the scheme was reviewing its expectations for future risks and returns “from first principles”. He said this would feed in to conclusions about the deficit and future funding, to be negotiated with employers and published in September.The scheme generated 12% a year in investment returns over the course of the past five years, the annual report showed, outstripping its benchmark and liabilities.Galvin said the long-term performance of the scheme remained “strong”, adding that he expected USS’ portfolio to outperform liabilities in future. The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) gained 20.1% in 2016-17 and cut its investment costs but was unable to stop its deficit rising substantially, according to its annual report.USS – the UK’s largest pension fund – grew its assets to £60bn (€67.1bn) as of 31 March, up from £49.8bn a year earlier. However, this failed to keep pace with the scheme’s liabilities, which reached £77.5bn.The liability increase was caused primarily by a falling discount rate and lower yields on index-linked Gilts, USS said.The £17.5bn shortfall could lead to a revised deficit recovery plan and higher employer contributions, once a formal actuarial valuation is completed later this year. The scheme must also submit its recovery plan to the Pensions Regulator. Source: USSRoger Gray, chief investment officer, added: “The scheme’s assets generated exceptional absolute returns over the past year. We underperformed however versus the strategic benchmark due to underweights in index-linked Gilts and US equities, with the portfolio focused on assets expected to outperform in the long-term.”We are confident that the breadth and diversity of assets and capabilities deployed for the scheme will continue to pay off over longer periods.”USS estimated that it had added £1.1bn to the scheme’s net value through active management.During the 2016-17 financial year, USS also managed to reduce its investment costs by seven basis points. The total cost was 32bps – an improvement of 15bps compared to March 2014. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of the scheme’s investment portfolio is managed by its in-house team.In October USS launched its first defined contribution (DC) proposition, primarily aimed at those earning pension contributions above the scheme’s cap. At the end of March it had £99.2m invested across 14 DC investment products.
Roughly 83,000 members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) have opted to transfer to a new version of the scheme to be set up in March, its trustees have announced.BSPS trustees have been consulting members on a restructuring of the £14bn (€16bn) pension fund since late last year, after sponsoring employer Tata Steel UK warned it would go bust if it was forced to continue supporting the scheme.BSPS and Tata subsequently agreed with the regulator to launch a new scheme – BSPS2 – still sponsored by Tata but with lower annual benefit increases. They offered members the option of switching to this or remaining with the old scheme. The old scheme is to transfer to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).After an extensive communication exercise, the trustees said today that 97,000 of the scheme’s 122,000 members had responded to the consultation, with 86% opting for the new scheme. The remaining 14% chose to go into the PPF. Alan Johnston, BSPS trustee chairman, gives evidence to Work and Pensions Select Committee last monthAllan Johnston, chair of the trustee board, said: “[BSPS2] offers benefits that for most members are the same or better than the PPF and around 83,000 members have chosen to switch to the new scheme. “The PPF provides a valuable safeguard for members of occupational pension schemes and around 39,000 scheme members will remain in the current scheme when it starts its formal PPF assessment period at the end of March unless they take a transfer. Their benefits will be aligned to PPF compensation levels.“Work is now under way to allocate the members and scheme assets between [BSPS2] and the old scheme. Central to this work is the requirement to ensure that, from 29 March 2018, pensioner members receive their appropriate pension payment depending on which arrangement they will be moving into.”BSPS: How it happened December 2016: Tata Steel UK launches a consultation to close BSPS to future accrual and enhance its defined contribution offering as part of a bid to sustain the company’s operations in Port Talbot, Wales.January 2017: Trustees claim BSPS can continue to pay benefits outside of the PPF and without the support of its sponsoring employer. They set out the case for entering into a “regulated apportionment arrangement” (RAA). May 2017: BSPS and Tata agree the terms of an RAA in principle with the regulator, with the existing scheme set to take a 33% equity stake in the employer and a £550m cash injection.August 2017: TPR agrees to an RAA, with Tata Steel UK continuing to sponsor a new scheme with lower annual benefit increases. November-December 2017: Financial advisers flag concerns about advice being given to BSPS members to take their pension savings out of the scheme. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigates and politicians launch an inquiry.January 2018: The FCA says a third of all pension transfer cases involving BSPS members were “unsuitable”.March 2018: Subject to regulatory approval, BSPS will split in two with one section entering the PPF’s assessment period and the other, larger section becoming a new scheme, BSPS2. Those joining BSPS2 were estimated to represent 80% of assets and liabilities, the trustees said, meaning the new scheme would be roughly £11bn in size and the PPF would take on approximately £3bn.The figures are expected to be confirmed by mid-March, with the formal split taking place on 28 March.The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will now assess the data and the trustees’ plans for BSPS2 before deciding whether it is strong enough to be set up.
They described the current defined benefit (DB) arrangements as a “fairy tale”: “Many players keep on believing in it, but it can’t last forever.”Employers and trade unions are debating the future structure of the Dutch pension system and are seemingly focused on keeping and adjusting current benefit plans.The Deloitte report said that limiting the Netherlands’ mandatory second pillar was the most probable route to individualisation. This would mean lowering the income limit for tax-facilitated pensions accrual from the current level of €105,075.Lower costsThe authors observed a difference in asset management costs for individual pensions accrual, as participants often opted for cheaper passive investments, whereas collective pension funds invested more actively. They also typically allocated more to illiquid assets.As a consequence, costs for individual pension products were often approximately 0.3%, Deloitte said, whereas costs for collective pensions accrual was between 0.45% and 0.55%.“The question is what preference individuals would have in a more [individualised] pensions system,” the authors wrote.Other implicationsThe report also suggested enabling savers to take a lump sum before retirement, as well as a right to shop around for the best deal for retiring participants in DB arrangements, similar to the current option for defined contribution plans.In all cases, billions of euros in contributions or assets would become available to other market players, which would pose opportunities for banks and insurers.However, this would mean lower pensions accrual, the authors acknowledged, adding that the responsibility for saving a sufficient amount for retirement would shift further towards individual members and away from employers.Were these suggested measures to become reality, the report said it would create additional pressures on defined benefit plans, while net pension arrangements – for the salary part excluded from tax-friendly accrual – could become more attractive.The Deloitte report added that customer service would be another challenge for the pensions sector as data would have to be updated daily.Administration issuesIn order to be able to provide participants with tailored guidance, pension funds and providers would have to collect different types of data including details about participants’ mortgages, additional savings and information about their dependants.According to Deloitte, most pension providers still had complex, home-built administration systems with separate sections for individual pension funds and limited flexibility.Existing systems would remain expensive, the report said, despite further standardisation having the potential to drive down costs by 30%.Unit-linked capital administration systems for individual pension accounts were more simple and offered many standard solutions, it said.Administration was expected to become a “low-margin commodity market”, Deloitte said, with providers becoming increasingly reliant on asset management as an income source.It noted that, because of their scale, pension providers were better positioned in this space than some smaller insurers. The shift towards individual pension accrual is irreversible, according to advisory firm Deloitte, and pension funds and their providers must prepare for this.In a report assessing what would be needed for an individualised defined contribution (DC) pensions system in the Netherlands, the consultancy said that providers should focus on increasing their distribution power, improving their brands and administration facilities, as well as developing ‘robo-advice’ capabilities. According to the report, pension funds and providers had the most to lose, as they were lagging behind on the key competences of brand, distribution, customer service and administration.Authors Jan-Wouter Bloos, Evert van der Steen and Robert-Jan Hamersma argued that schemes’ only advantage relative to insurers and banks was asset management.
Almost three quarters of fund managers surveyed by AMNT made no mention of ethnic diversity on boardsThe association surveyed 42 fund managers, analysing the extent to which their public voting policies reflected AMNT’s “Red Line” policies on climate change, gender and ethnic diversity on boards, and executive pay. It said managers remained unwilling to accept client-directed voting in pooled arrangements on the basis of these guidelines, which were launched at the end of 2015. According to the AMNT, of 38 fund managers that publicly disclosed a voting policy, over half did not have a climate change-related voting policy or guideline.More than 30% made no reference to gender diversity on boards, and almost three-quarters made no specific mention of ethnic diversity in this context.The association also said few managers had a voting guideline on tackling excessive total executive pay.“Too many fund managers’ public policies are, in the areas studied, out of alignment with either best practice or asset owners’ and societal concerns,” said the AMNT. “A significant number of fund managers are not prepared to publicly state either what their voting policy and/or guideline is. “We believe the amount of flexibility being used as an excuse for the lack of transparency is not serving clients’ best interests especially in this regulatory environment, and indeed only serves to create doubt as to how serious the fund managers take the issues.”This article was updated on 30 May 2019 to add a comment from the FCA. By the beginning of October trustees will be required to set out their policies on stewardship of investments, including engagement with investee firms and the exercise of voting rights.Separately, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has proposed holding institutional investors to higher standards in an updated stewardship code, saying it wanted to “create a market for stewardship driven by a demand from asset owners and beneficiaries for better quality information about how asset managers and service providers fulfil their responsibilities”.‘Utterly unacceptable’ Source: PLSAGuy Opperman addresses an industry conference in October 2018The pensions minister, Guy Opperman, backed the AMNT’s concern. “It’s utterly unacceptable that most pension fund managers don’t have published policies and practices to combat climate change, and public commitments to tackle excessive pay and promote gender and ethnic diversity are all too rare,” he said.“Being vague or secretive with the trustees and savers they represent is out of order. These obstructive fund managers need to take action now as effective and responsible shareholders.”Opperman brought up the issue of directed voting in pooled funds at a trade union conference earlier this year, saying he thought it “puzzling” trustees did not get to choose how to vote shares in the companies held. A spokesperson for the FCA told IPE: “We have received and are considering AMNT’s letter. We plan to meet with the association to discuss their concerns in more detail.”A spokesperson for the Investment Association, the UK’s asset management trade body, said the industry aimed to cater to investors with a variety of needs, which meant having access to different types of products.“For some clients, that will mean a segregated mandate that includes directed voting, while others want the benefit of the economies of scale that come with pooled funds,” the spokeperson said. “Ultimately, what is important is that we create a marketplace that means that clients can tailor their approach to their overall investment approach.“A number of reforms to the stewardship market are underway and we are confident that these will foster better engagement between asset owners and asset managers about the important role that stewardship, voting and engagement plays in delivering on savers’ investment objectives.”The Investment Association has taken issue with the stewardship definition proposed by the FRC in its update to the code.AMNT’s findingsAMNT said it had been told that trustees were free to “take their business elsewhere” if they did not like the policies pursued by their fund managers. However, a review of fund manager policies by the association “indicates there is nowhere else to go”. The UK’s financial services regulator should investigate the absence of a genuine market in asset manager shareholder voting policies, according to an influential group of pension scheme trustees.According to the Association of Member-Nominated Trustees (AMNT), a review of fund manager voting policies had demonstrated “opacity and lack of comparability”, which it said could prevent asset owners from selecting fund managers or holding them to account on voting issues.In a letter to Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the AMNT said that if this “market failure” were not corrected in time, fund managers would be preventing pension schemes from complying with regulations coming into force later this year.“On the basis of our research, AMNT wishes to make a complaint about the failure of the fund management industry to allow pension scheme trustees to operate a stewardship policy governing the environmental, social and governance [sic] of the companies in which they invest via fund managers, particularly in pooled funds,” the letter stated.
LCP, LOIM, PASA, PTL, Asset Management Exchange, APG, GAM, PostNL, Danica Pension, Achmea, Morningstar, Kempen, Patrizia, Schroders, Man Group, BlueBay, AXA IM, AFMLane Clark & Peacock (LCP) – LCP has announced that former pensions minister Steve Webb is to join the firm as a partner. He joins from Royal London Asset Management where he has been policy director since 2015. At LCP he will work closely on the firm’s client service offering to help adapt it for the future in the context of an ever-evolving regulatory environment. He will also help the firm spearhead campaigns to assist the wider pensions industry stay apace with change and member needs. The appointment comes as the firm positions itself for future growth.Lombard Odier Investment Managers (LOIM) – Alexis Maubourguet has been hired to launch an uncorrelated absolute return strategy for institutional clients, due to go live in early 2020. Maubourguet was formerly a volatility portfolio manager at Argentière Capital, where he launched and managed its relative value opportunities fund. Maubourguet will leverage his past experience by providing clients with a new strategy, called 1798 ADAPT (Acyclical Diversifying Alpha via Parameters Trading), which aims to benefit from dislocations on derivatives parameters (volatility, correlation, dividends), both structural and occasional, across asset classes (equity, FX and commodity).Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) – The independent body dedicated to driving up standards in pensions administration, has named Paul Sturgess as board director, effective from 1 January. He replaces Tracy Weller who stepped down on 31 December 2019 after three years in the position. Sturgess was previously PASA membership and funding committee chair. He is managing director benefits at RPMI and has more than 38 years of experience in the pensions industry across both defined benefit and defined contribution occupational schemes.PTL – The independent trustee and governance services provider has appointed Steve Longworth as client director. He joins PTL with 25 years of experience in pensions, having spent time on both trustee and corporate clients at several pension consultancies. He is a qualified actuary and most recently worked for KPMG, and before that for PwC, Deloitte and Mercer.Richard Butcher, PTL’s managing director, said: “Professional trusteeship is an increasingly demanding and dynamic part of the pensions industry, and we have ambitious plans to become the leading firm in this space.” He added that the firm grew by more than 20% in its last financial year and is already exceeding its targets for this year.“Steve is the first of four imminent new hires at client director level, which we will be announcing in the coming months,” Butcher said.Asset Management Exchange (AMX) – JP Morgan’s former head of liquidity product development has joined AMX, a $9.5bn institutional platform for investors and asset managers, as head of product, where she will lead a team of four product specialists. Kerrie Mitchener-Nissen was at JP Morgan for 13 years, most recently as head of international product development, a role in which she was responsible for setting and executing the product strategy for the global liquidity line of business.AMX was launched in February 2017 by Willis Towers Watson, and aims to standardise, centralise and streamline investing.APG – Jaap van Manen, supervisory chair at Dutch asset manager and pensions provider APG, has stepped down “for personal reasons”. His role has been temporarily taken over by Pieter Jongstra, the current vice chair of the supervisory board (RvC). At the start of 2019, Van Manen succeeded Bart le Blanc, who had stepped down six months earlier. He has chaired the committee developing the code for corporate governance in the Netherlands.Gaston Siegelaer has been appointed as product specialist for quantitative strategies, tasked with co-ordination between APG’s fiduciary department and its portfolio managers of quantitative investment products. He has been an independent pensions consultant during the past years, and will keep working for fintech firm Vive as an adviser on financial robotics. Prior to this, Siegelaer has worked at (Willis) Towers Watson, pensions regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and pure play asset manager Robeco.Pensioenfonds PostNL – Caspar Vlaar has joined the board of the €9.4bn Dutch pension fund PostNL following a nomination by the company’s central works council (COR). He succeeded Ron Harmsen who completed three four-year terms. Vlaar is also a trustee at the €11bn pension fund of telecoms giant KPN. He is employed by the organisational consultancy Linxx.Kempen – The asset manager has appointed Peter Ruesink as fiduciary manager and director of its client solutions team. He will focus on serving institutional fiduciary clients on strategy and data science. During the past five years, Ruesink worked at Allianz Global Investors, where he was responsible for institutional clients in the Benelux. Prior to this, he was head of investment solutions at Aegon Asset Management. He also worked at ABN Amro and Mercer.GAM Investments – Giovanni D’Alesio has been hired as head of research for GAM’s alternative investment solutions business, effective 13 January. Based in London, he will be responsible for leading the firm’s external fund manager research team and managing portfolios that combine external managers and other investment exposures, including betas, factors and alternative risk premia. The team employs a disciplined and risk-focused process to identify and combine talented managers across asset classes and investment styles, blending high-conviction qualitative views with proprietary quantitative modelling tools.D’Alesio was formerly a partner and head of investment origination at Capital Generation Partners, where he led a team focused exclusively on sourcing and monitoring active investment opportunities across equity, fixed income, hedge funds and real assets for the multi-billion dollar business. Prior to that, he spent eight years at Italian fund of hedge funds Unifortune Asset Management, most recently as head of research, where he was responsible for all research and due diligence on hedge funds across a wide spectrum of strategies. He was also a member of the firm’s investment committee.Länsförsäkringar — Swedish pensions and insurance group Länsförsäkringar has appointed Mathias Collén as the new chief executive officer of its unit-linked insurance subsidiary Länsförsäkringar Fondliv. He replaces the business’ most recent CEO Tua Holgersson, who left the company in autumn 2019 to head up Swedish insurance firm Bliwa Livförsäkring. Collén has worked for Länsförsäkringar for nearly six years, and became head of the life insurance business unit in May last year – a title he will continue to hold. Before working in that role, he led corporate business at Länsförsäkringar Stockholm, having been a Skandia employee earlier on. Collén will begin work in the new role on 1 February.Danica Pension – Poul Kobberup has been promoted to CIO of Danica Pension, with effect from yesterday (15 January). He is replacing Anders Svennesen, who has been CIO of both Danica Pension and Danske Bank’s wealth management unit up to now. Svennesen will now concentrate solely on wealth management, the company said, focusing on new product development within investment and capital management. Kobberup has worked at the Danske Bank pensions subsidiary for four years, having been investment director for illiquid assets until now. In his new role he is taking responsibility for all investment activity at the firm.Achmea IM – Renier Brenninkmeijer and Daniëlle Schuurmans have started as director business developement and associate director business development, respectively, at Dutch asset manager Achmea Investment Management. Brenninkmeijer joined from asset manager Robeco, where he has been responsible for institutional marketing. Schuurmans worked as an investment risk manager for operational due diligence at asset manager PGGM.AFM – The Dutch communication supervisor Authority Financial Markets said Gerben Everts would step down as a trustee as of 12 May. His responsibilities at the AFM include capital markets, asset managers and accountants. Everts, who joined the board in 2012, was also tasked with the supervisory preparations for new foreign players moving to the Netherlands following Brexit. He is to remain chair of the international working group assessing vulnerabilities in accountancy.Morningstar – Ron Bundy has been hired to lead the evolution and growth of Morningstar’s global indexes business. He joined the firm in December as managing director, Morningstar Indexes. He was most recently CEO of North America benchmarks and head of strategic accounts for global index provider FTSE Russell. Prior to Russell’s 2014 acquisition, Bundy served as CEO of the Russel Index Group, where he grew a U.S.-centric business 20-fold into a truly global operation.BlueBay Asset Management – The specialist fixed income manager has appointed Mihai Florian as senior portfolio manager to further develop BlueBay’s emerging market debt illiquid corporate credit strategies through co-investment opportunities and new closed-ended investment strategies. The role is a new role and comes as BlueBay plans to this year launch new EM illiquid corporate credit investment strategies.Before joining BlueBay Florian was a founding partner for the credit strategies at Helios Investment Partners, an EM private markets investment manager. Other former roles include head of Structuring for fixed income, currencies and commodities for EM at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.Patrizia – The real estate investment firm has appointed Alberto González de las Heras as its new head of asset management South-West Europe. Based at the firm’s Madrid office, he now oversees the asset management for France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, with responsibility for managing around €4.55bn in assets.González de las Heras, who joins from Meridia Capital in Spain has a proven 20-year track record in pan-European real estate management, including in markets such as Germany, Slovakia, Belgium and the Czech Republic. He reports to Rikke Lykke, head of European asset management and regional head DACH/CEE.Schroders – The asset manager has appointed a deputy head of credit for Europe as the firm continues to grow its global credit capability in response to clients’ evolving investment needs. Julien Houdain has assumed the newly-created role and will be based in London. He will report into Patrick Vogel, head of credit for Europe.Houdain will manage the recently launched Schroder ISF Global Credit Income Short Duration fund, and will work alongside Vogel and the credit team on Schroders’ credit strategy. He joins from Legal & General Investment Management where he was most recently head of global bond strategies, having joined the asset manager in 2007.In November, Schroders announced it had hired Saida Eggerstedt as head of sustainable credit, another newly-created role which entails working in partnership with Schroders’ Sustainability and Fixed Income teams.Man Group – Robert Furdak has been appointed to the newly created role of chief investment officer for environmental, social and governance (ESG) as the asset manager seeks to bolster its broader commitment to responsible investment. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Furdak will report to Sandy Rattray, Man Group CIO. Furdak most recently served as co-CIO of Man Numeric, the firm’s fundamentally-driven quantitative investment business, as well as chairman of Man Numeric’s investment committee and head of Man Numeric’s US/Global group. AXA Investment Managers – Effective 16 January, Godefroy de Colombe is the firm’s new global chief operating officer, joining from Direct Assurance, AXA’s P&C e-insurance business where he was CEO. Based in Paris, he will be a member of the AXA IM Management Board reporting to Gérald Harlin, executive chair of AXA IM.