NETHERLANDS - PME has appointed Mn Services as its fiduciary asset manager and is in talks to appoint it as pensions administrator.
At the same time, a spokesman for Mn Services confirmed the firm was looking to expand its activities into Belgium, Germany and possibly the UK.
With the addition of the €21bn of assets of the Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds voor de Metalektro (PME), scheduled to take place in early July, Mn Services will have a total of €58bn in assets under management.
Once the arrangement is completed, PME will hold a 40% stake in Mn Services, with the remaining equity continuing to be held by Pensioenfonds Metaal & Techniek (BPMT).
The arrangement will make Mn Services the largest private-sector pension administrator and asset manager in the Netherlands owned by a social partnership. The social partners are the employers’ organisations FME-CWM and FWM and the trade union organisations FNV Bondgenoten, CNV BedrijvenBond, De Unie and VHP.
Hans van der Windt, chief pensions officer at PME, commented: “If the talks on transferring PME’s pension administration to Mn Services are successful, it will simplify things for our participants and for employers in the sector.
“There is always a lot of switching between the metalworking and mechanical and electrical engineering sectors. Having a single administrator would make life easier for all concerned.”
Ruud Hagendijk, chairman of the board of management of Mn Services, said: “We now have sufficient critical mass to play a decisive role in the future, on both national and international financial markets. That will make us attractive to existing and future clients.”
The trend for fiduciary management of pension funds is now firmly established in the Netherlands, with Fidelity and Robeco among the latest asset managers to enter the space, as revealed by Global Pensions at the start of April.
A spokesman for Mn Services said this was explained by the “growing complexity” of running a pension fund.
Mn Services is not the only player in the space looking to expand its offering within Europe. As also revealed by Global Pensions in April, Fortis Investments has revealed a plan to market its Dutch fiduciary offering across Europe and specifically in the UK.
Christiaan Tromp, the new head of fiduciary management at Fortis Investments, said at the time: “Pension funds in the UK face huge problems and some will come to the conclusion that fiduciary management is a cheaper and easier way of dealing with their liabilities.”
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Smaller FTSE 350 defined benefit (DB) schemes were nearly 15 percentage points less well-funded than larger schemes in 2017, according to a Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) analysis.
The advent of collective pension systems could help the UK avoid demographic challenges which will make it "impossible" for society to help savers in retirement, experts say.