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Anticompetitive risks among asset management providers for Dutch pension funds

28-01-2020

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has conducted an exploratory study into potential anticompetitive risks in the asset management market of Dutch pension assets. This study focused on the risk of (high) switching costs, and the risk of the bundling of asset management and investment consultancy services.

This exploratory study has shown that:

  • Pension funds that have switched investment management providers incur asset management costs that are, on average, 6.7% and 8.3% higher in the year of the switch.
  • Pension funds that take out bundled investment consultancy services and asset management services switch almost half as often as pension funds that do not do so.
  • Pension funds that take out asset management services as part of a bundle with investment consultancy services spend 10% more on asset management services than pension funds that take out these services separately. This applies in particular to small and medium-sized pension funds.

The reasons for this exploratory study are the economic and public interests of this market, as well as indications that ACM has received suggesting that competition among asset management providers is distorted.

ACM has conducted interviews with market participants and experts in order to assess these risks. ACM has also requested data from Dutch pension funds in order to be able to conduct a quantitative analysis of possible consequences.

ACM has shared the results of this study with pension funds and with the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds (in Dutch: Pensioenfederatie). The pension funds recognize these results, and indicate that they are able to use these insights in their decision-making regarding their choices for asset management and investment consultancy services. ACM recommends pension funds to take a hard look at the costs and benefits of taking out bundled or unbundled investment consultancy services and asset management services. Such a comparison might produce benefits for them.

Should you be interested in the underlying quantitative analysis, please contact ACM by sending an email to info@acm.nl.

See also:

The study is based in part on a study conducted by Dutch economic research agency SEO Amsterdam Economics commissioned by ACM  (in Dutch)