Michael S. Raub acknowledges he has a tough assignment, representing a foreign-owned money manager and marketing international portfolios to Taft-Hartley pension funds.
Mr. Raub is senior vice president-institutional sales and head of the Taft-Hartley area for Chicago-based ABN AMRO Asset Management Inc., a unit of ABN AMRO Holding NV, Amsterdam. His office is in Portland, Ore.
The firm never had a major U.S. institutional marketing effort but sees the institutional market as vital in its overall U.S. business plan during the next five years, Mr. Raub said, noting he has already hired a second marketer and is looking for a third.
While ABN AMRO has some strong U.S. investment products managed in the United States, "the goal of ABN AMRO in the Netherlands is to increase the capability of asset management based in Amsterdam" and its other European money management sites, which manage international and global strategies.
Taft-Hartley plans "have been slow to embrace international or global investments," he said. They typically allocate only 8.6% of total assets to international investments , on average, according to P&I's survey of the 200 largest plan sponsors. By contrast, corporate and public funds allocate an average 19.2% and 17.9%, respectively.
But Mr. Raub thinks ABN AMRO might appeal to Taft-Hartley funds because of its commitment to social and labor issues. About two-thirds of the Dutch work force is unionized, he added.
Plus, he said, "getting domestic returns in the future will be harder, and plans will be forced to look across the border." ABN AMRO Asset Management manages $500 million for Taft-Hartley clients, and Mr. Raub hopes to increase that to $5 billion to $7 billion in five years.