EUROPE- BlackRock is tapping into investors' need to outsource as it looks to grow its Europe, Middle East and Africa business.
Meijaard said he has a clear vision for how he wants to grow the EMEA business - including targeting insurance companies in need of outsourcing services and growing the BlackRock Solutions platform.
He also plans to increase the size of the firm's defined contribution business in the UK.
Fiduciary management has become one of the fastest growing parts of the business. In the Netherlands, the firm's fiduciary management business has grown to EUR30bn (US$39.9bn), up from EUR1bn in 2005.
Meijaard said the firm is finalising a contract with a client in the UK and is in discussions with other potential clients in the Nordics.
Fiduciary management - also known as total plan outsourcing - involves managing and advising entire portfolios, from asset allocation to risk management.
Meijaard said: "Most of the clients that are looking at the fiduciary model…either they manage the pension fund internally with a small staff, or they find it difficult to cope with the increasing complexity of the asset classes and alternatives. Or where a board of trustees advised by a consultant did all the work themselves but it's become a difficult and complex markets."
Insurance companies are also looking to outsource their portfolios as the markets have become more complex. Meijaard expects the firm's US$120bn insurance business to grow about 20% per year for at least the next three to five years.
Meijaard said: "Insurance companies tended to manage most of their portfolios internally and used to outsource only small parts like alternative allocations. But what we're seeing now across Europe is that insurance companies are outsourcing the management of equity markets and credit portfolios."
Meijaard sees the outsourcing theme continuing in investors' search for credit managers. He said at least 50% of all the requests for proposals the firm currently receives are for credit managers.
He said: "Part of that is also an outsourcing element because running a credit portfolio used to be quite easy when the markets were liquid and we didn't have too many defaults. People are (now) struggling in managing their credit portfolios."
Separately, growth will come through the firm's financial markets advisory group and its BlackRock Solutions platform, which can value underlying holdings of structured products.
Meijaard said the firm has been hired by various governments to run mortgage-backed securities or collateralized debt obligation portfolios through this platform, though he declined to name the clients.
In 2008, the firm agreed to manage sub-prime assets previously held by UBS, the Swiss bank. Also last year, US Federal Reserve hired BlackRock to run $30bn in Bear Stearn's hard to sell assets.
Finally, Meijaard plans to grow the firm's DC business. The firm acquired DC Link last year, which allows the firm to offer bundled solutions.
Meijaard said: "That's a fast growing part of the market. If you look ahead ten years, 15 years, a large part of the UK pension market will be in DC."
The firm has often grown through acquisitions and officials are eying potential acquisition targets in Europe. (Global Pensions, 27 March 2009)
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