ASR Vermogensbeheer N.V. (Asset Management) conducts all of a.s.r.’s asset management activities, with the exception of direct real estate. Real estate assets are managed by a.s.r. real estate and described in chapter 4.4.3.
The asset management market is consolidating rapidly, as a result of increasing legislation and regulations, stricter supervision, international competition and the realisation of economies of scale. The number of independent Dutch asset managers has been shrinking for years, while a need for specific knowledge of the Dutch market remains. This provides opportunities for a.s.r., as a focused Dutch asset manager that is close to the market, personal and solution-oriented.
Asset Management manages assets of € 65 billion, including € 26 billion for customers outside of a.s.r. The product range includes corporate bonds, government bonds, equities and mortgages. In this way, a.s.r. offers custom solutions with a sound return on investment. a.s.r. primarily invests close to home, in countries and companies that comply with a.s.r.'s social and sustainability criteria, demonstrating that sustainability and financial returns can go together.
a.s.r. primarily focuses on managing assets for own account. Additionally, it offers asset management services for third parties. In the long-term, companies that embed sustainability, quality and risk-spreading in their policies generate more economic and social value, at a lower risk. a.s.r.’s strategy is based on this principle. a.s.r. aims to generate sustainable returns for its stakeholders, now and in the future. For that reason, a.s.r. seeks not only financial, but also social returns, through investments that are checked for environmental aspects and human rights, and by opting for impact investments, which are long-term investments. Attention does not, therefore, focus on cryptocurrencies, commodities or day trading. As a result, a.s.r. may miss short-terms returns, but this is consistent with its focus on the result for the longer term. Furthermore, a.s.r. is able to combine the investment profession with Solvency II requirements, is cost-efficient and generates extra fee income from the successful Mortgage Fund, ESG funds and the defined contribution pensions products such as 'WerknemersPensioen' and 'DoenPensioen'. a.s.r. invests for its third party customers in the same way as it does for its own balance sheet. The current investment climate, characterised by high inflation, rising interest rates and increased volatility, has placed investment under pressure. One of the ways that a.s.r. protects its investment returns in the asset management environment is by investing in ‘real assets’ such as real estate and equities and through proper diversification.
In 2023, a.s.r. will continue to serve its clients through a combination of asset management solutions and individual asset categories, such as fixed income, equities and mortgages. As part of a.s.r.’s ESG strategy, the focus will be on impact investments in order to generate a measurable favourable social or ecological impact, in addition to financial returns. a.s.r. will also continue its drive to increase the managed assets of external customers. The successful mortgage and ESG funds are examples of that strategy.
Part of the deal with Aegon N.V. is a long-term agreement between ASR Vermogensbeheer N.V. (Asset Management) and Aegon Asset Management (Aegon AM) in which it has been agreed that, among other things, the investment portfolios relating to the Dutch activities under management of Asset Management and. In addition, the management of ASR (Separate Account) Mortgage Fund, ASR Private Debt Fund I and ASR Renewable Infrastructure Debt Fund will be transferred to Aegon AM in due course. The starting point here is that the services will continue as much as possible unchanged after 1 July 2023. Further agreements are currently being made with Aegon AM to ensure that the transition as of 1 July proceeds as smoothly as possible.