PGGM’s private markets CIO to step down

Influential industry reformer Ruulke Bagijn is leaving the Dutch pension fund manager to join AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets.

PGGM’s chief investment officer for private markets Ruulke Bagijn is leaving the Dutch pension fund manager to become global head of real assets private equity at AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets, according to a statement from the fund.

Bagijn will take up her new post on 1 May 2016, taking charge of the private equity and infrastructure investments at the asset manager, PGGM said.

“Ruulke has been a prominent colleague and representative of PGGM,” PGGM’s chief of investment management Eloy Lindeijer said in a statement. “She has led the expansion of our private markets platform, which offers clients access to investments in private equity, infrastructure, real estate and other non-listed investments.”

Arjen Soederhuizen, who held the role before Bagijn, will take over the position on an interim basis, according to a PGGM spokesperson. 

Bagijn joined PGGM in 2009 as head of the private equity team, and was appointed CIO for private markets in 2012.

Last April Bagijn took part in a roundtable discussion in the Dutch parliament to investigate the poor performance and bankruptcy of several Dutch portfolio companies, as well as the role of private equity within the country’s economy.

In August PGGM took a clear stand against lack of transparency in the industry, asserting that by 2020 the pension would stop investing in private equity managers that do not fully disclose their fees.

PGGM set out a new strategy for “acceptable remuneration”, which requires asset managers to be transparent regarding their pay and remuneration structures; performance fees only to apply in the event of above-average performance that is agreed upon in advance; and only basic remuneration to be paid for the costs and pay of the fund’s management.

“This is not something that can be achieved in the short term, and we realise that we also need this market in the meantime in order to generate returns for a decent pension,” Bagijn said of the strategy. “It is a journey that requires stamina, in which we will focus on undesirable practices and denounce these to the financial services providers and publicly as well.”

In November Bagijn stood behind Dutch Labour Party lawmaker Henk Nijboer, who proposed tax reform to protect Dutch pensions and companies against “harmful” private equity firms, praising him for “rightly draw[ing] attention to excesses in private equity” and calling for greater transparency on remuneration and how it is linked to performance.

AXA IM – Real Assets has also appointed Germain Aunidas as global head of development, effective 1 May 2016, to replace Jean-Manuel Rossi, who is retiring. Aunidas will manage all French developments as well as overseeing the whole of AXA IM – Real Assets’ development activity in Europe, the firm said.