Month: September 2020

first_imgInstitutional investors are, Aquila said, set to increase their direct ownership of real assets.Specialised investment funds are used by 38% of those surveyed, closed-end funds by 32% and club deal/co-investments and managed accounts by 16%.Nine out of 10 investors (90%) said they had some exposure to real assets, and 44% had more than 10% exposure.Property was the most popular asset, with 74% of investors having exposure to it, followed by infrastructure (37%), commodities (26%), renewable energy (21%), timber (18%), shipping (7.9%) and farmland (2.6%).  The study showed that the most significant deterrent to investing in real assets was the lack of liquidity, which was cited by 55% of respondents.Other reasons included institutions’ lack of understanding of real assets (33%), limited long-term performance history (30%), a lack of suitable investment products (25%), fear of poor returns (23%) and unwillingness to diversify into ‘untested’ investment sectors (20%).For real assets to become more compelling, institutional investors said product providers must demonstrate greater transparency (60%), assets should be run by managers with experience of managing them (41%), fees should be lower (32%), due diligence should be clearer (30%) and products need better scalability (14%).Investors, Aquila said, also need to have a clearer understanding of the risk/return profile of real assets (41%). Institutional investors prefer direct ownership of real assets, according to a study by Aquila Capital.Aquila said 57% of the European investors it surveyed believe direct ownership is the best approach.However, only 43% currently use it.Stuart MacDonald, managing director at Aquila, said: “There is a growing appreciation among institutional investors of the benefits of direct ownership of real assets, and, over the coming years, we can expect to see a narrowing of the gap between actual and desired levels of this approach.”last_img read more

first_imgThe €4bn APK Pensionskasse needs to move away from traditional valuation methods and focus on scenario testing for its bond portfolio, the chief executive of the Austrian fund said.Speaking in the June’s IPE On The Record, Christian Böhm, said due to the market intervention from the European Central Bank (ECB) and political turmoil across the euro-zone, valuation methods traditionally used by pension schemes were no longer applicable.“Due to the intervention of the ECB and the political turmoil caused by the negotiations on Greek debt, valuation methods, particularly for bonds, are no longer very helpful,” Böhm said.“This is a challenging issue, and to address it we need to think about scenarios rather than rely on traditional methods.” Böhm said pension schemes could also try to reach their optimal diversification level, in order to offset volatility, and manage uncertainty posed by the ECB actions and geopolitical risks.“At the same time, we need to assess the sensitivity of each of our assets to each scenario, and dig deeper into asset classes to find the best opportunities,” he added.Also speaking in On The Record, chief investment officer of Dutch scheme Pensioenfonds TNO, Hans de Ruiter, said he saw the ECB’s actions as having a positive effect on the overall euro-zone economy.However, he added: “In terms of risks, we see a danger that this aggressive monetary policy creates instability on financial markets, as asset prices become inflated.”Given potential shocks in the market affecting asset pricing, the European Insurance And Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), launched its own version of asset stress testing, which will run defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) scheme investments through stress scenarios.EIOPA said it would judge how resilient pension funds are in tough market situations, whiles also measuring changes to longevity.Industry representatives from pension funds and consultancies alike criticised EIOPA for pushing ahead with its scenario stress testing, with expectations it would feed results into a report on scheme solvency for the European Commission.The Commission took solvency requirements for pension schemes off the agenda by removing any potential requirements from the revised IORP Directive, currently sitting in the European Parliament.To read Carlo Svaluto Moreolo’s interviews with APK, TNO Pensioenfonds and Fondenergia in June’s On The Record, click herelast_img read more

first_imgLincoln Pensions suggested that the publication of separate TPR guidance, detailing how pension funds might support the growth of their sponsors, could be responsible for the lack of holistic-risk implementation at FTSE 350 companies.  According to research conducted by the firm, pension funds supporting the growth of their sponsor companies are forced to increase investment risk to offset lower contributions and a weaker covenant.  The research also found that FTSE 350 schemes that depend more on their employers, as opposed to their covenants, also tend to have higher allocations to risk-seeking assets.“[This indicates] schemes may be trying to invest their way to full funding,” Lincoln’s research says.“In doing this, they may be taking too much investment risk relative to the employer covenant rather than seeking increased contributions from their employers.”Lincoln also found that FTSE 350 schemes had an accounting deficit of £72bn, but this is combined with the £100bn of investment risk – with the average allocation to risk assets at 44%.Matthew Harrison, managing director at Lincoln Pensions, said: “The share of return-seeking assets does not decrease as the schemes get larger in the context of their employer, despite clear guidelines in TPR’s code of practice on funding [schemes].“[The] analysis may lead to scheme funding discussions that move away from the historical focus on funding today’s deficit towards a greater understanding of investment risk volatility and a balance in the scheme’s overall risk profile.” The pension funds of FTSE 350 companies are carrying £100bn (€140bn) in investment risk underwritten by their sponsors as they struggle to adapt to the regulator’s new holistic risk approach.Advisory firm Lincoln Pensions said it saw little evidence FTSE 350 schemes were implementing The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) holistic risk-management approach.This approach, published in the DB Code of Funding last July, calls on schemes to account for the strength of the employer covenant when calculating investment-risk tolerance and thereby ensure risks between a company and its pension fund are balanced. The regulator said pension funds’ approach to funding and deficits should take into account all risks and that they should find appropriate investment-risk tolerances in line with risks stemming from sponsor failure.last_img read more

first_imgIn the tender notice, the PPF said: “The board is seeking to procure a licence for an economic scenario generator for use in assumption-generation for a range of medium and long-term modelling.”It said the company it picked would have to be able to provide a “real-world calibration of an appropriate time frame, including outputs for a sufficiently broad range of asset classes given the investment strategy of the board and the pension schemes it protects”. These outputs should also allow it to project the liabilities, it said.The applicant should be able to provide a regular, well-justified and researched ‘house view’ calibration, the PPF said, though it added that the solution should also be flexible, making user-defined calibrations possible, too.“As well as appropriate technical functionality, the successful candidate will also provide technical support, training and knowledge sharing, committing to a range of SLAs (service-level agreements) and regular feedback sessions to ensure client satisfaction,” the fund said.The contract is expected to last three years, with the option to extend for a further two 12-month periods, according to the notice.The deadline for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 16 October.Separately, the PPF announced that its 2016-17 levy estimate would be set at £615m, lower than last year’s estimate of £635m. David Taylor, the fund’s general counsel, said the reduction reflected improvements in the Experian scores that scheme employers and guarantors were receiving.But he added that this had been balanced by a deterioration in the smoothed scheme funding levels the fund uses to set levies.The PPF also said it had published the 2016-17 levy consultation document, and that the consultation period would end on 22 October. The UK’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has put out an EU tender notice in search of a company to provide an economic scenario generator, used to come up with the large set of scenarios needed for a stochastic, or random probability, analysis.The PPF, which has £22.6bn (€31.2bn) in assets and was set up to shield pension scheme members from corporate collapses, said the tender was not related to the performance of its current provider Barrie & Hibbert, which is now part of the Moody’s Corporation.The fund said it had been using Barrie & Hibbert since July 2006 and was now simply testing the market to see what other providers were offering.The PPF said it wanted either to hire a new provider or to renew the contract with Barrie & Hibbert by April 2016.last_img read more

first_imgLCP partner Tim Marklow said: “IFRIC 14 as it currently stands is a very problematic area. It is a small-print legal lottery where two very similar companies can have very different accounting positions thanks to minor differences in pension scheme rules.“Do the proposals in the ED help with that? They clarify some areas, but they don’t address the fundamental issue with IFRIC 14, which is that it leads to very different and inconsistent treatment between companies.“The rules are so complex I don’t think readers of the accounts and investors would be able to make sense of why companies with similar pension schemes are disclosing such different positions.”Actuarial consultants Towers Watson, however, signalled their support for the changes.“The proposed changes should reduce diversity in practice,” it said. “However, difficulties remain in interpreting the intent of IFRIC 14 with respect to unlikely or irrational actions that could potentially affect an entity’s unconditional right to a plan’s surplus.”Among the Big Four audit firms, Deloitte and KPMG broadly supported the IFRIC 14 changes. PWC and EY, however, both raised substantial concerns.In a 19 October comment letter, PWC argued: “The proposed changes to IFRIC 14 result in a mixed measurement model inconsistent with the underlying principles in lAS 19.”It went on to argue that the basis for the IFRIC 14 amendment was incompatible with the requirements of IAS 19, the standard that it interprets.“The proposed changes require an entity to anticipate possible future events (for example, plan amendments or a winding-up) initiated by the trustees,” it said. “IAS 19 precludes such events to be accounted for when they happen.“These changes appear to be driven by concerns the current guidance permits an entity to recognise a surplus that is not controlled by the entity (and therefore does not meet the definition of an asset in the IASB’s Conceptual Framework).”The IASB and its interpretations committee issued the proposed changes to IAS 19 and IFRIC 14 in June as a joint exposure draft.The IFRIC 14 changes, if they are confirmed, will restrict the surplus a DB plan sponsor can recognise in its accounts – irrespective of how likely the plan trustees are likely to seize part or all of that surplus.The proposals could also force sponsors to take account of statutory requirements that are substantively enacted when they determine the amount of surplus available for them to recognise as an asset.IFRS IC developed both the amendment to IAS 19 and to IFRIC 14.The IFRS IC’s predecessor issued IFRIC 14 in 2007 in an effort to explain the application of the standard’s asset-ceiling requirements.Paragraph 58 of IAS 19 limits the measurement of a DB asset to the “present value of economic benefits available in the form” of refunds from the plan or reductions in future contributions to the plan. IFRIC 14 also deals with the interaction between a minimum funding requirement and the restriction in paragraph 58 on the measurement of the DB asset or liability.When a DB plan sponsor applies IAS 19, it must first measure the DB obligation using the projected unit credit method on the one hand, and fair value any plan assets on the other.This calculation will produce either a DB asset or liability at the balance sheet date. Where a plan is in surplus, the sponsor recognises the lower of any surplus and the IAS 19 asset ceiling.In addition to the amendment to IFRIC 14, the IASB has also proposed a change addressing the assumptions DB plan sponsors must use in their pensions accounting following a plan amendment, settlement or curtailment.Meanwhile, the UK audit regulator, the FRC, has complicated the landscape and announced in its 2015 Corporate Reporting Review that it expects companies to make disclosures consistent with the requirements of the as yet unfinalised ED.The FRC said: “Until the ED is finalised and effective, and IAS 19 and IFRIC 1421 are amended, we would expect companies to disclose any significant accounting judgements made when assessing trustees’ rights, including the extent to which their policies are consistent with the ED.”Although the FRC has no legal basis to enforce the exposure draft’s requirements, its approach does follow the requirements of IAS 1, which requires entities to disclose critical judgements and areas where there are uncertainties affecting the reported numbers.Alongside the furore in some quarters over the IFRIC 14 changes, the IASB’s proposed amendment to IAS 19 aimed at addressing the accounting for a plan settlement or curtailment has also received a mixed response.LCP’s Tim Marklew said: “They are just unnecessarily tinkering. The current rules work fine, and these new rules on remeasuring pension schemes are simply unnecessary.”Auditors KPMG, however, supports the proposal “because it would result in more useful and precise information and would not be costly to preparers, as the information is already available for the remeasurement required under paragraph 99 of IAS 19.”The IFRS IC is likely to revisit the exposure draft and decide on the next steps on the project at its scheduled January 2016 meeting. Consultants and auditors have given the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and its interpretations committee no clear sense of the way forward on proposed changes to pensions accounting under international standards.The proposals affect International Accounting Standard 19, Employee Benefits (IAS 19) and its accompanying guidance, International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee 14 (IFRIC 14), which addresses the IAS 19 asset-ceiling test and surplus recognition.In a further twist, the UK audit regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), has weighed into the debate and said it expects UK-listed companies to pay heed to the guidance in the run-up to the year’s annual reporting season.Consultant actuaries Lane Clark and Peacock (LCP) have hit out at the changes to IFRIC 14 and IAS 19.last_img read more

first_imgThe 2.3% return on investments at current value in the first nine months of this year compares with 3.1% in the same period last year.In the third quarter alone, Ilmarinen’s investments returned 2.9%, after 0.8% in the second quarter and a loss of 1.4% in the first.Ilmarinen’s total investments rose in value to €36.5bn at the end of September, from €35.2bn at the same point last year.The return on fixed income was 2% from January to September, up from just 0.1% in the same period last year.Fixed income investments shrank as a proportion of total assets, ending the quarter at 44.9% of the overall portfolio, down from 50.3% in September 2015.Listed and non-listed equities, shares and private equity investments increased as a proportion of assets, on the other hand, rising to a 39.1% allocation from 35.7%.In absolute figures, equities grew to €14.3bn from €12.6bn, but Ilmarinen said it reduced the amount of risk related to this asset class by €473m by using derivatives.The return on equities was 2% overall in the nine-month period, compared with 5.5% in the same period last year, with listed equities alone making a 0.2% loss.Property increased to make up 11.2% of Ilmarinen’s assets, having accounted for 8.8% of the whole portfolio at the end of September 2015, with indirect real estate investments contracting in allocation terms to 1.3% from 1.4%.This asset class generated a 2.8% return in January to September, up from 4.3% in the same period last year. Investment returns at Finnish pensions insurer Ilmarinen broke into positive territory on a year-to-date basis for the first time this year at the end of September, with the €36bn pension fund generating a 2.3% return in the first nine months of the year.Timo Ritakallio, president and chief executive, said: “The third quarter was a good one for Ilmarinen’s investment return, pushing the return from the start of the year clearly into positive figures.”A key factor behind the improvement in investment returns was the positive development in the equity markets, he said, adding that all of the main indices had performed well in the third quarter.“The historically low interest-rate level continues to steer investors towards alternatives such as real asset classes and stocks,” he said.last_img read more

first_imgThe UK regulator has introduced a workaround for the country’s local government pension scheme (LGPS) to avoid European rules that could have forced some funds into a potential fire sale of assets.The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday published a 1,068-page policy document regarding the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). In it, the watchdog added wording to the rules making it easier for LGPS schemes to be “opted up” to professional investor status. MiFID II requires all local authorities to be treated as retail clients by their asset managers, which would severely restrict their ability to invest in illiquid asset classes. While it was introduced to protect the treasury management functions of local governments across Europe, it raised concerns within the LGPS that it would hamper efforts to pool assets and boost infrastructure spending.After lobbying from the LGPS Advisory Board, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Investment Association, the FCA made changes to the “quantitative” and “qualitative” tests for clients to be classified as professional. On the quantitative test, the FCA introduced a criterion allowing all LGPS administering authorities to be opted up if they run at least £10m (€11.4m) – even the smallest LGPS funds have more than £200m in assets.Asset managers must also assess the “expertise, experience, and knowledge” of their clients in order to opt them up to professional status. MiFID II refers to an individual person, but the FCA’s policy statement made it clear that “firms may take a collective view of the expertise, experience and knowledge of committee members, taking into account any assistance from authority officers and external advisers where it contributes to the expertise, experience and knowledge of those making the decisions”.The regulator added: “Given different governance arrangements, we cannot be prescriptive, but we would stress the importance of firms exercising judgement and ensuring that they understand the arrangements of the local authority and the clear purpose of this test. It remains a test of the individual, or respectively the individuals who are ultimately making the investment decisions, but governance and advice arrangements supporting those individuals can inform and contribute to the firm’s assessment.”The implementation phaseThe LGPS Advisory Board welcomed the FCA’s decisions as a “significant step in the right direction”.Despite the concessions to LGPS funds, there remains a significant administration burden for the pension funds and asset managers in the coming months before MiFID II is implemented on 1 January.“We are less than six months away from these changes coming into force and we need to make sure we are focused.”Joe Dabrowski, PLSAJeff Houston, the LGA’s head of pensions, told IPE the focus of the various parties involved would immediately switch to implementation. The LGPS and LGA have already begun working with the Investment Association and other bodies, including representatives of the private equity and infrastructure sectors, to put together a questionnaire for asset managers to use when opting out LGPS clients.Houston said that, while the FCA’s change to the quantitative test had essentially made it a “tick box” exercise, asset managers still needed to be satisfied that each local authority client had the necessary collective expertise to be a professional client, and understood the implications of such a move.Nick Buckland, senior investment consultant in JLT Employee Benefits’ LGPS team, said: “What we are conscious of is there is still a significant amount of administration involved, especially for pension funds with lots of alternatives managers.”Traditional managers were looking at the assessment framework, Buckland added, but there were “some concerns” about smaller, boutique managers keeping a consistent approach.Joe Dabrowski, head of investment and governance at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), said: “The LGA has done a really good job of explaining the way the LGPS is set up and run, and the FCA has listened. The concessions and adjustments they’ve made will go quite a long way making the problems we had go away.”The PLSA will feed in to the questionnaire discussions, Dabrowski said. He added: “We are less than six months away from these changes coming into force and we need to make sure we are focused. Six months for pension funds is not very long – time is of the essence.”last_img read more

first_imgActively-managed investment funds recommended by investment consultants do not meaningfully outperform their benchmarks, according to the competition watchdog investing the UK consultancy sector.The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it found no evidence that, net of asset management fees, products rated as ‘Buy’ by consultants outperformed either their respective benchmarks or unrated products to a statistically significant extent on average.This was based on an empirical analysis of actively-managed asset management products in a database maintained by eVestment, the CMA said.On average, recommended products outperformed their benchmarks only on a gross-of-fees basis. Passively-managed products were excluded from the analysis. “This analysis fits into our assessment of outcomes in terms of whether investment consultants are providing value for money in relation to the quality of their services,” said the CMA in a new working paper.It said it decided to assess the performance of consultants’ recommended asset management products because they were “an area which potentially adds value and can reasonably be measured, and where claims are commonly made”.It acknowledged that manager recommendations were only one part of the service consultants provided.The CMA has invited comments on its analysis and said it would present a final version of the work in its provisional decision about whether or not there is effective competition in the investment consultancy and fiduciary management sectors. The deadline for the final report is March 2019.The anti-trust authority said its work tested and expanded on analysis carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA analysis – carried out in connection with its study on the asset management sector – found that “investment consultants in our sample were historically not able to pick out products that significantly outperformed (against benchmark) other products”.The consultants included in the CMA’s sample were: Aon, Capita, Hymans Robertson, Redington, Russell Investments, Willis Towers Watson, KPMG and LCP.Mercer was not included in this analysis because it did not subscribe to eVestment and therefore could not provide ratings data that could be matched with the database.The CMA said it attempted to include Cambridge in its analysis, but was unable to match any of their ratings into its dataset.last_img read more

first_imgHowever, as former UK minister for universities David Willetts declared in a speech at the conference, education is thankfully not going down the online monopoly route that we have seen with Facebook and social media. After social security, health and education account for the two largest items in UK government expenditure – and figures are likely similar elsewhere.Technology has the potential to be transformational in both cases. With healthcare, it is not just through the use of technology to make administration more efficient – with mixed success so far in the UK, which still lacks seamless access to medical records between doctors, hospitals and clinics. Excitingly, technology is also emerging in areas such as the use of artificial intelligence to better diagnose medical imagery. The metrics for success are clear in healthcare, although data protection remains a concern.‘Edtech’ – the trendy term for technology applied to education – has the potential to radically change education in both developed and emerging countries. To what extent it will eventually do so is perhaps less obvious than in healthcare.The EdTechX Europe 2018 summit, held last week in London, was full of exciting start-up companies led by dynamic management teams that saw themselves as providing transformational businesses. Oxford University, UKOxford and Cambridge, at the apex of the UK’s higher education system, offer courses that are expensive to create with individual or small group tuition together with lectures. The collegiate system also means there are physical limits to how many new places can be created.On the other hand, MOOCs offered by such entities may address the issue of disseminating information and teaching – but online courses cannot reproduce the university experience, or indeed the prestige of being admitted to such institutions.Yet there must be alternatives that can utilise the almost-free resource of online courses together with some minimal campus teaching that would not result in students facing large debts at the end of three years. The technology for such offerings is there already but, so far, there has not been a synthesis of online and campus teaching that produces radically cheaper but acceptable alternatives with mass appeal.Edtech has immense potential, but the path to success requires much more than just technology.center_img Could online courses replace university teaching?Online university courses have been around for a number of years, and free massive open online courses (MOOCs) are available from eminent institutions such as Harvard, MIT and Microsoft. At EdTechX entrepreneurs were offering new variations on this theme, including the creation of at least one new online university.Teacher-less teaching?Technology is also arriving in the classroom throughout developed countries. However, some of the initiatives on show at EdTechX suggested that innovation was likely to be far more transformational for isolated communities in poor countries. For example, distributing tablets to provide access to specifically designed courses without school teacher involvement is likely to have far more of an impact than tweaking teaching aids in the developed world.One presentation, for example, related to the Global Learning XPRIZE, a global competition with a $15m (€12.8m) prize purse provided by Tesla founder Elon Musk. It challenges teams around the world to develop open-source and scalable software to enable children with limited education access to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 15 months. Field testing of five finalists is already underway in villages in Tanzania.At the other extreme, initiatives such as EtonX are subsidiaries of well-known institutions that leveraging their credibility to attract a worldwide audience.For investors, there is a cornucopia of opportunities in edtech, but deciding what is likely to be a winner may be much more difficult than in healthcare.With healthcare, it is clear that a technological solution that, for example, substantially improves detection of breast cancer from scans would have immediate applications and relevance, and the technology with the best performance would likely be the most successful.Edtech offerings are more problematic. There are many competing offerings in the same space without necessarily any differentiator in terms of quality – and, in many cases, they may be competing with free offerings from highly regarded institutions.  Challenging the traditionalThe rise of online learning opportunities does raise the issue of how traditional universities should be structured in response. David Willetts argued that, unless they are able to meet the demand for more places, universities will be increasingly sidelined as educational institutions while remaining as research entities.last_img read more

first_imgPensions-Sicherungs-Verein, Deutsche Post DHL, KPA Pension, Almi Företagspartner, Folksam, Svensk Forsäkring, Tryg, ASR, Russell Investments, La Française, MEAGPensions-Sicherungs-Verein (PSV) – Benedikt Köster will be joining the German pension lifeboat fund’s executive board with effect from January 1, 2021 to take over from Hans Melchiors as head of the operations and finance department. Melchiors will be stepping down from the board at the end of April to enter retirement.Köster is currently senior vice president for group pensions at Deutsche Post DHL Group in Bonn, having joined the company in 2006 from then Aon Jauch & Huebener Consulting, where he had been the international pension accounting chief. He is a member of the German actuarial association (DAV) and on the mathematical experts working group at aba, Germany’s main occupational pensions association.PSV is the €7.5bn mutual insurance association for occupational pension schemes in Germany and Luxembourg. It insures around €345bn of liabilities, covering some 11.1 million beneficiaries. KPA Pension — Britta Burreau, the chief executive officer of Sweden’s KPA Pension – a subsidiary of pensions and insurance group Folksam – is leaving to head up state-owned financing firm Almi Företagspartner. She is replacing the previous CEO Göran Lundwall, who decided to step down from the role at the end of this year. Burreau has led KPA Pension since 2016 and, prior to this, was CEO of Nordea Liv & Pension. Almi Företagspartner said she will start work in the new job by 15 November at the latest.Folksam/Svensk Forsäkring — Swedish insurance industry association Svensk Forsäkring, which counts the country’s largest pension funds as its members, has appointed the head of pensions and insurance group Folksam, Ylva Wessén, as a new member of its supervisory board.She has worked for the Folksam group since 2007, becoming its permanent chief executive officer in December 2019. Announcing a series of new appointments to the board as well as new tenures for existing members, Svensk Forsäkring also said its supervisory board chair Louise Sander, CEO of Handelsbanken Liv, had been re-elected, along with deputy chair Fredrik Bergström, the CEO of Swedish pensions and insurance group Länsförsäkringar.Tryg — Nordic general insurance group Tryg has appointed Christina Bustrup as its new head of pensions. She confirmed in a post on LinkedIn that she would be starting work in the new role in June. Bustrup joins the firm from her current role as chief commercial officer for Danish pensions IT company Edlund. She is also a member of the supervisory board of the Bank of Greenland.ASR – ASR Asset Management, part of Dutch insurance group ASR, has appointed Bas Kragten, Jules Koekkoek, Remco van Amelsfoort and Vincent Kroes as senior managers of its structured fixed income team. It said they will focus on investment grade debt instruments as well as ESG impact investments. All four joined from Dutch asset manager Actiam, the successor of SNS Asset Management.Kragten, who will lead the team, has been co-head of fixed income at Actiam, head of asset-backed securities at ING IM as well as senior investment manager at NIB Capital AM. Koekkoek’s previous positions include executive director at USB Investment Bank and Nomura. Kroes has been associate director at KPMG Corporate Finance as well as supervisor at the European Central Bank.Russell Investments – The asset manager has further strengthened its presence in the Dutch market with the addition of two experienced investment industry professionals. Jaap Hoek is joining as director of investment strategy and solutions for Northern Europe, and Marleen Barents-Jager as sales director retail for Benelux and the Nordics.Hoek joins from Robeco, where he was most recently a director and portfolio strategist in the company’s investment solutions team.Barents-Jager recently worked for Principal Global Investors, where she was responsible for business development activities, promoting and distributing the company’s range of mutual funds.La Française Group – Following an internal consultation that began several months ago, chairman of the executive board Xavier Lépine is leaving the €69.3bn asset manager and being replaced by Patrick Rivière, who until now held the position of chief executive officer.The group has also expanded the executive board with the addition of Marc Betrand and Philippe Lecomte, who have been with the group for many years already. The company said its reorganisation would help the group develop its multi-boutique model.Eric Charpentier, CEO of owner Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe, said: “I would like to thank Xavier Lépine for his valuable cooperation over all these years as well as his outstanding contribution to the Group’s expansion and his enthusiasm as a developer.“I welcome the appointment of Patrick Rivière and the new management team, who will be able to best respond to the current developments and successfully continue the expansion of La Française Group.”MEAG – The Munich-based asset manager MEAG has named two new CIOs. Joining from JP Morgan Asset Management, Prashant Sharma will assume responsibility for the management of the liquid assets portfolio as CIO for public markets.Separately, Michael Bös will become CIO, alternative assets, overseeing the division that will be created effective 1 July by bringing together under a single manager the illiquid assets and real estate businesses at MEAG Munich Ergo Asset Management. Bös has been heading up the investment strategy division at MEAG’s owner Munich Re.Sharma and Bös will effectively be succeeding Thomas Kurtz and Wolfgang Wente, respectively.MEAG manages the assets of reinsurance giant Munich Re and subsidiary ERGO, and currently manages €324bn, according to the company.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more