Selective messaging, selective market targeting and a long term commitment to the region are what US manager Eaton Vance Investment Managers believes will see it emerge as a bigger and better known provider in the European region.
Specific structural and regulatory changes in the pensions area are also seen as a possible opportunity. For example, Heins notes the debate ongoing in the Dutch pension market over what rate of interest the government may set for all schemes going forward, which is mandated for use in calculating future liabilities against current assets. Depending on what rate is proposed in the Dutch Budget later this year it may affect the attractiveness of some types of investments. Heins suggests that certain types of investments, such as infrastructure – something which Eaton Vance is not involved in – which currently may be seen as advantageous by pension funds may become less so.
In Sweden the pending independent inquiry report into the future of the AP buffer funds, which make up part of the three tiered pension system, likewise could lead to fund selectors working for these funds taking a different view of assets and funds if any of them were to be merged. Again, it may represent opportunity, but either way Heins is watching these sorts of developments closely.
Also as part of the long term commitment to Europe, the manager is also keen not to come across as just another large US business making assumptions of what business model will succeed across Europe, Heins said. It is particularly keen to distinguish itself from large global managers headquartered in the US, which are also trying to push into European markets.
Anecdotally, Heins said colleagues in Boston were good at accepting input and information about events specific to Europe, including discussion around EU regulatory developments. In addition, the company recognised that being successful Europe required a recognition that there were differences between individual markets. In reverse, there is growing interest in ensuring investors in Europe have access to the views and research coming out of the US businesses – including Parametric, the Seattle based structured portfolio manager.