(Updates to include additional information, below)
Alex Van der Velden, the former Head of Investments, Responsible Equity Strategies at Dutch giant PGGM Investments, is to be the partner and Chief Investment Officer of a new asset management company called Ownership Capital.
Responsible Investor reported in September 2012 that Van der Velden and three other senior staff responsible for managing PGGM’s innovative €3bn Responsible Equity Portfolio had left to form an independent manager.
They team included Antoinette van Lier, Investment Director, Otto van Buul, Portfolio Manager, and Francois Schockaert.
The new firm is to be focused on ‘long horizon investing’, according to its provisional website.
Before joining PGGM, Van der Velden was Executive Director of FairPensions, the UK-based campaign group. Before that he had stints at Coller Capital, JP Morgan and Brown Brothers Harriman.
The new eight-member company will be chaired by Sir George Buckley, the former Chairman, President and CEO at US industrial group 3M who now chairs private equity house Arle Capital Partners.
Buckley is also a director of PepsiCo, Hitachi, Stanley Black & Decker and Archer Daniels Midland; he is also on the Americas Advisory Board for Deutsche Bank and the Advisory Board for Rothschild North America.London-based Arle, which has around £2bn in assets under management, has developed what it calls its “Active Ownership Framework” approach.
Ownership Capital will integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into selecting stocks and its approach will feature highly concentrated portfolios. The minimum investment is €50m.
Last year Van der Velden and Van Buul published a detailed study in the Rotman International Journal of Pension Management outlining how they created the Responsible Equity Portfolio at PGGM. ‘Really Investing for the Long-Term: A Case Study’ is available here.
Van der Velden told Responsible Investor in an interview that the new firm is targeting a €2bn fund in the first instance and will then close it to allow it to bed down.
It has backing from Omar Cordes, the former head of Asia-Pacific distribution at Credit Suisse, who is a partner in the business.
Van der Velden added Ownership Capital is finding “so much enthusiasm out there” from potential clients for what he says is “such a common sense approach” – making engagement part of the investment process. Indeed, it was through engagement with 3M that the firm made contact with Buckley.