Dutch fund hires for engagement as ABP and PGGM declare holdings

SBZ plans SRI strategy shift away from divestment.

SBZ, the €2.57bn Dutch industry-wide pension fund for health insurance companies, is reportedly looking to appoint an engagement overlay manager as part of a new socially responsible investment (SRI) policy that will see it shift away from a more rigid company exclusion policy.
Peter van Gemst, director of finance and investments at the pension fund, told delegates a conference in Amsterdam that the fund wanted to move away from a rigid exclusion policy to an engagement-driven SRI strategy. Van Gemst said the strategy would enable it to take a more proactive stance with companies before it took any divestment decision. Separately, the Netherland’s two largest pension funds ABP and PFZW (formerly PGGM), have said they will take a major move towards investment transparency by disclosing the names of all the companies in their equity and bond portfolios.
Else Bos, head of PGGM Investments, which manages the assets of PFZW, said: “As an innovative asset manager, we feel it is only right to be as open as possible about all our investments. We want to show that we invest the pension capital of PFZW carefully and responsibly, while, of course, respecting the interests ofour business partners.”
PGGM already publishes annual summaries of its investment mandates, listed and unlisted investments and the asset managers it works with.
A spokesman for ABP told ipe.com that its own forthcoming disclosure policy would broadly follow that of PGGM. The fund already publishes its 100 largest equity holdings.
Both ABP and PFZW have been at the cutting edge of responsible investment strategies. In October last year, the two funds announced investments of €100m apiece in the Ampère Equity Fund, which is being managed by Triodos, the Dutch bank, and will invest in wind parks on land and at sea and biomass power stations in various western European countries. 
Evelop, a European sustainable project developer, will manage the majority of the projects using financing from the Ampère fund. The fund, which signed its first major deal this week by acquiring a 32% shareholding in Koegorspolder, the largest operational onshore wind farm in the Netherlands, will invest up to €500m in renewable energy projects across Europe.