NETHERLANDS - PGGM is on the verge of overhauling its corporate identity with a source close to discussions speculating the e74.4bn pension fund could re-brand as an investment manager or advisor to the Dutch pension industry.
“There is a lot of soul searching and difference of opinion within PGGM,” said the source, who asked not to be named. “Policy is part of it. You only have differences in policy when you have differences about the future direction of the enterprise.”
The re-brand could see PGGM absorb smaller schemes, a necessity in the Netherlands, he argued, where there are 300 schemes with less than 1,000 members.
But the fund may face competition, he cautioned, with at least six other players eyeing the same space. Additionally, there was a danger in PGGM straying from its original remit.
“You have to ask whether you should just be looking after your members’ interests or whether you should be in the process of developing a fund management business,” he said. “Most people who chase third party mandates in addition to a central core mandate fail.”
A spokesperson for PGGM confirmed the board of governors was discussing the fund’s corporate identity.
A separate source suggested these talks were rooted in the board’s desire to revise the policies laid down by its ex-chairman, Karel Noordzij. Noordzij resigned in March following an “irreconcilable difference of opinion” with the board of governors.
“The wonderful thing about a head honcho leaving is you can ask, ‘are you happy with the present structure or do you want to change something about it?’,” he said.
“Noordzij certainly knew what he wanted and my guess is people would like to sit back and stare at the ceiling and ask, ‘is that really what we wanted or was it just his enthusiasm, and did we get carried away with it?’”
The same source added a new chairman could be appointed as early as July, however, this depended on whether the board decided to keep its existing structure.
The PGGM spokesperson said the fund had not yet decided whether to replace Noordzij. There was no relation between Noordzij’s departure and a change of corporate identity, she added.
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