Mallowstreet- Why the LDI shock matters for DC schemes

Mallowstreet, March 2023

'"What's that got to do with DC?' I hear you say. Plenty, I say..." - Ian McKinlay, Senior Advisor at Avida International divulges on the importance of building 'muscle memory' in order to combat crises.

Phil Redding joins Avida International

We are delighted to announce that Phil Redding has joined Avida International as a Senior Advisor.

Margaret Delman joins Avida International

We are delighted to announce that Margaret Delman has joined Avida International as an Associate Partner.



Dr. Dorothee Franzen, Geschäftsführerin von Avida International, hat kürzlich einen Beitrag im IPE D.A.C.H. ASSET MANAGEMENT GUIDE 2022 veröffentlicht. Der Artikel behandelt den weltweiten Trend von DB zu DC mit einem Fokus auf den aktuellen Entwicklungen in Großbritannien, den Niederlanden und Deutschland.

Mallowstreet - A Pinch of salt - thoughts on the aon/wtw merger

Mallowstreet, September 2020

"There comes a time when an event occurs and one needs to speak out" – Bart Heenk at governance advisory Avida International shares his views on the proposed merger between two of the UK's largest pension firms."

Maßgeschneiderte Lebenszyklusstrategien -- Win-win für Arbeitgeber und Arbeitnehmer

IPE D.A.C.H. Jahrbuch 2020

Dr. Dorothee Franzen, Geschäftsführerin, und Prof. Dr. Christian Schmitt, Senior Adviser, Avida International

Mit der zunehmenden Verbreitung der wertpapiergebundenen Direktzusage steigt in Deutschland das Interesse an Lebenszyklusstrategien. Mit individuellen Lebenszyklusstra- tegien mit dynamischem Risikomanagement können auch im derzeit sehr anspruchsvol- len Kapitalmarktumfeld sowohl das Investmentrisiko des Arbeitgebers als auch die Ertragserwartungen der Arbeitnehmer optimal ausgesteuert werden.

Mallowstreet University Digital Roundtable - Back to Business as Unusual?

Mallowstreet, June 2020

Please note this blog by Stuart Breyer is reproduced in full by kind permission of Mallowstreet. The original item can be found here

For this morning's digital roundtable we were joined by Bart, Sally and Paul from Avida International, who led a conversation and shared their insights as we explored what happens ‘next’. 

As we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, the changes we have been planning for business post-coronavirus will need to be implemented. What will our operating environment look like? What are the key changes we are making? What lessons have we learned, and are there any areas we feel uncomfortable about?

It was an excellent roundtable, and the time flew by. Some of the key questions raised were:

  • By 2022, how much will the working world have changed?

  • What will be the role of committees going forward?

  • What are the aspects of effective chairing that can help pension funds have more efficient meetings?

  • How do you build new relationships in a digital world?

  • How do you onboard new joiners in a changed world?

  • Is there a responsibility to open the office to help mentor and train newer members of the team?

It was a fascinating and thought-provoking discussion. 

Mallowstreet University Digital Roundtable - Good Leadership; Learning from the Crisis

Mallowstreet, May 2020

Please note this blog by Stuart Breyer is reproduced in full by kind permission of Mallowstreet. The original item can be found here


I recently had the pleasure of hearing Bart Heenk from Avida International and his team on a webinar and immediately thought to myself: these folks need to speak to the mallowstreet community.

So two or three weeks later, we were lucky enough to be joined by the experts from Avida and Strategia Worldwide for a discussion about good leadership.

The hour flew by, and it was a fascinating discussion that covered a number of points: 

  • What do you need to have in place in order to lead effectively in a crisis?

  • What do you wish you had done before and what can you learn from previous mistakes?

  • Good leadership means having your house in order. Having ‘muscle memory’. Being resilient. Learning from this crisis to be better prepared for the next. Thinking strategically about the post-crisis situation.

 To help inform the discussion, we asked attendees in advance to submit their questions and top concerns. These included: 

  • How to keep my team motivated/ effective

  • Envisioning what the world would look like after the crisis

  • Funding gap/ratio, sponsor covenant

  • Liquidity (available collateral, cash, rebalancing, forced selling)

Discussions around the importance of each component of ‘ESG’ appeared. How are companies and organisations addressing the ‘E’, ‘S’, and ‘G’, and how is this impacting their reputation?

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted questions in advance and also during the discussion. 

Video - how will the crisis change the pensions industry?

Mallowstreet, April 2020

Sally Bridgeland talks to Mallowstreet about how to keep working in this environment, why advisers' response to the crisis matters for trustees, and the value of walking the floors of a prospective asset manager. (Accessible to Mallowstreet users only.)

Is Covid-19 pushing disaster planning up the board agenda?

Mallowstreet, April 2020

Bart Heenk talks about taking cues on disaster planning from the army in this Mallowstreet article (accessible by Mallowstreet users only).  

Digitalisierung in der betrieblichen Altersvorsorge

Auszug aus BetrAV* 1/2020 S. 41 ff.

Herausforderung Digitalisierung - Vorstellung des neuen aba-Fachausschusses Digitalisierung und seiner Aktivitäten.

How can trustees and pension fund executives work well together?

Mallowstreet, February 2020

Sally Bridgeland comments on the trustee role in this Mallowstreet article (accessible by Mallowstreet users only). 

Patrick Woods joins Avida International

I&PE, November 2019

Patrick Woods has joined Avida International as Head of Commercial Development. This was also covered in Financial Investigator.

Chapter 17 - Pension Investment Governance

Saving the next billion from old age poverty - global lessons for local action

Dorothee Franzen co-wrote this chapter with John Ashcroft of JA Pension Consulting.

Battling the risks

Pensions Aspects, October 2019

Military commanders face ambiguous and fast-moving circumstances, which can change in rapid and unexpected ways. In the latest edition of Pensions Aspects, Sir Richard Shirreff (Partner and Co Founder of Strategia Worldwide), Pascal Hogenboom (Partner at Avida International and Strategia Worldwide) and Paul Boerboom (Founding Partner of Avida International) consider how investors and pension funds can learn from the military’s approach to risk and crisis management.

The power of "small data"

LinkedIn Pulse, October 2019

Bart Heenk, Avida's Managing Director, on the power of "small data".

Die Erfolgreiche Provider-Search

IPE Quest, August 2019

Dorothee Franzen writes on the successful provider search. 

Is a pancake a cake? Fight for scale has Dutch fund in bitter dispute over batter

Mallowstreet, August 2019

Bart Heenk comments on industry-wide schemes in the Netherlands in this Mallowstreet article (accessible to Mallowstreet users only.)

How can scenario planning help trustee boards?

Mallowstreet, August 2019

How can scenario planning help trustee boards? Bart Heenk comments on crisis management and scenario planning in this article by Sandra Wolf on Mallowstreet (accessible to Mallowstreet owners only). 

Professor Christian Schmitt has joined Avida International

Financial Investigator, May 2019

Professor Christian Schmitt has joined Avida International as Senior Adviser. This was also covered in I&PE.

A la carte lijkt beste business model voor fiduciairs

Financial Investigator, March 2019

Karin Roeloffs chaired this roundtable on fiduciary business models.

Beatrice N. Herrmann joins Avida International

Financial Investigator, March 2019

Beatrice Herrmann joins Avida team.

This was also covered in Investment EuropeI&PE and I&PE D.A.C.H.

Fees & costs: The price worth paying

I&PE, February 2019

Sally Bridgeland comments on transparency.

Fiduciair Management: Bron Van Innovatie

Financial Investigator, No. 1, 2019

Paul Boerboom and Tim Juling look back on the development of fiduciary management.

The impact of climate change on rural livelihoods in East Africa

Financial Investigator, No. 7, 2018

Paul Boerboom considers ESG and impact investing via a real life case study from Uganda.

Karin Roeloffs joins Avida

Financial Investigator, November 2018

Karin Roeloffs joins Avida team.

Are you prepared for the next crisis?

Mallowstreet, October 2018

In this blog on Mallowstreet (restricted to Mallowstreet members only) Bart Heenk considers risk, crisis management and war gaming.

Pascal Hogenboom joins as Associate Partner

Financial Investigator, October 2018

Pascal Hogenboom joins Avida team.

This story was also covered in I&PE, Schade Magazine and Risk & Business & Claims.

Beweging rol fiduciair

Pensioen Bestuur & Management, September 2018

In this article, published in Pensioen Bestuur & Management in September 2018, Peter Kolthof considers the changing role of fiduciary managers.

Investment decisions are hard work

Mallowstreet, June 2018

In this blog that originally appeared on Mallowstreet, Bart Heenk considers the challenges of investment decision-making for trustee boards.

Transparency - what have we achieved?

Mallowstreet, June 2018

Bart Heenk comments in this blog on Mallowstreet by Sandra Wolf. Please note access is restricted to Mallowstreet members only.

Sally Bridgeland an award winner at Women in Pensions 2018

Professional Pensions, June 2018

Sally Bridgeland was joint winner of the ‘Role Model of the Year’ award at the inaugural Women in Pensions Awards. You can watch a video of Sally talking about the award here.

Matthews to replace Smart as chair of TPT trustees

Professional Pensions, June 2018

Joanna Matthews will succeed Sarah Smart who leaves TPT Retirement Solutions (TPT) trustee board after eight years in the post.

UUK appoints three to USS joint expert panel

Professional Pensions, May 2018

Sally Bridgeland one of three appointed by Universities UK (UUK) to the Universities Superannuation Scheme’s (USS) joint expert panel, to examine the valuation of the USS.

This was also covered in I&PE.

People Moves: Beckers joins Avida

I&PE, May 2018

Stan Beckers joins Avida International’s Advisory Board.

This was also covered in Financial InvestigatorFondsNieuws and Investment Officer.

Pension consolidation: is it all good news?

I&PE, April 2018

Bart Heenk and Sarah Smart consider the pros and cons of consolidating pension funds.

Avida International hires Sarah Smart

Professional Pensions, March 2018

Sarah Smart appointed Senior Adviser at Avida International.

This was also covered in Financial Investigator and I&PE.

Avida International roundtable - DB pensions - a CFO's perspective

Avida International, February 2018

On 27 February 2018, Avida International organised a breakfast roundtable on running DB pensions from a CFO’s perspective. Annemarie Straathof talked about the governance changes she, as CFO Europe for Rabobank, helped effect during the last couple of years at their UK pension fund. This was followed by a roundtable discussion.

Investment outsourcing for institutional investors

Clear Path Analysis, February 2018

Sally Bridgeland is interviewed in this report in relation to ‘Timing is everything: when to transition to an outsourced investment partner’.

Wie hoch sind die 'Pension Assets' in Deutschland?

I&PE Asset Management Guide 2018

Dorothee Franzen considers the difficulty of obtaining figures on funded pensions in Germany.

When mentoring matters

Pensions Expert, November 2017

Sally Bridgeland comments on mentoring.

Kommentar: Governance im neuen Sozialpartnermodell - Lessons from Behavioural Finance

I&PE, October 2017

Dorothee Franzen comments on governance under the new social partner model.

Industry views - FCA review

I&PE, September 2017

Bart Heenk comments on the FCA review.

Investment Solutions - no turning back

I&PE, September 2017

Bart Heenk comments on the potential regulation of investment advice.

How consultants can prepare for scheme consolidation

Pensions Expert, July 2017

Bart Heenk explains why consultants should embrace scheme consolidation and how they can prepare for change.

Top 400: Market forces - coming together

I&PE, June 2017

Pension funds are consolidating. Bart Heenk considers the consequences for investment managers.

Guest viewpoint - fiduciary management

I&PE, June 2017

Dorothee Franzen, Paul Boerboom and Peter Kolthof give their ‘guest viewpoint’ on the state of play of fiduciary management.

Peter Kolthof chairs Financial Investigator roundtables on fiduciary management

Financial Investigator, Volume 9, No. 1, 2017

Peter Kolthof, chaired two Financial Investigator roundtables on fiduciary management – one for providers and one for pension fund clients.

During the roundtables the importance of soft factors (match in culture) next to hard results was stressed, as well as the continuous and independent evaluation of a fiduciary manager.

Defined benefits - the role of governance

Pensions Policy Institute, February 2017

Interesting Pensions Policy Institute Briefing Note on DB governance, exploring the role played by trustees, the benefits of good governance and examples of good practice, the current gap between good and poor governance, the relationship between scale and governance, and improving scheme governance.

UK Financial Conduct Authority seeks to regulate consultants

I&PE, January 2017

Bart Heenk talks about need for pension funds to be able to ask the right questions and arm themselves with sufficient expertise in relation to the asset management and investment consultant industry.

People round-up - Avida International opens a representative office in Germany

I&PE, December 2016

The independent advisory firm has opened a representative office in Germany. Dorothee Franzen has been appointed head of the office, as managing director for Germany. She is also director of the Allianz-Oxford Pensions Conference and honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Franzen was previously director at Allianz Global Investors, where she headed international pension research.

Regulating investment consultants not the answer

I&PE, November 2016

Regulating investment consultants will not solve the problem of ensuring pension investors are not losing out as a result of “murkiness and complexity” in the asset management and investment consultant industry, according to Bart Heenk.

Crisis management for pension funds - event brochure

Avida International, October 2016

In celebration of its 10 year anniversary and the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, Avida International hosted a seminar on ‘Crisis management for pension funds’.

Hiring a fiduciary manager is just the beginning

I&PE, September 2016

Pension schemes should ensure they choose an independent adviser to assess their fiduciary manager’s performance, says Paul Boerboom.

How to make your providers work harder

Pensions Expert, August 2016

Competition in the asset management sector is under scrutiny in the Financial Conduct Authority’s market study, but schemes can act now to get a better deal, says Paul Boerboom.

Confidence in uncertain times - event brochure

Avida International, June 2016

In celebration of its 10 year anniversary, Avida International hosted a seminar on ‘Confidence in uncertain times’.

Governance practices - bridging the gap between rhetoric and reality

The 300 Club, May 2016

Sally Bridgeland and Prof. Amin Rajan discuss bridging the gap between rhetoric and reality in governance practices in this 300 Club paper.

Trustees must be willing to tackle 'big, difficult decisions' - 300 Club

I&PE, May 2016

European pension funds need to make a “fundamental” behavioural and cultural shift to close a “yawning gap between the rhetoric of governance improvements of recent years and their reality on the ground”, according to a paper from The 300 Club, a group of investment professionals seeking to challenge mainstream investment practice and thinking.

Define the measures of success

Pensions Expert, February 2016

Sally Bridgeland explains what trustees and pension fund committees need to be mindful of if they decide to move their investments in-house.

Roundtable: Fees and Costs in Asset Management

CFA Society UK, Professional Investor, Autumn 2015

Fees and costs are controversial issues in the investment industry. Steven Charlton, Aisha Dudhia, and Bart Heenk break down the key challenges in the discourse in the Autumn issue of Professional Investor. Bart Heenk: “The average pension fund trustee has limited insight into management fees and no idea of the true costs. This is largely because there is no attempt by the industry to provide clear and complete reporting. In fact most costs are, and remain, hidden unless you specifically ask for them.”

Appointments update - Dorothee Franzen joins Avida International

Pensions Age, May 2015

Avida International has appointed Dorothee Franzen as a partner. She will take on a dual role of supporting the team in servicing multi-national companies on cross-border pension investment governance and expanding Avida’s footprint into Germany.

Previously, she was a director at Allianz Global Investors where she headed international pension research. Further to her role at Avida she is director of the ‘Allianz-Oxford Pensions Conference’ and visiting research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

Maturing pension funds can rework investment governance

I&PE, March 2015

Sally Bridgeland: “Looking beyond the UK may provide lessons on how maturing pension funds can rework investment governance”

Rembrandt’s self-portraits show an honest, unflattering, self-awareness as he aged. At a recent discussion event in London, large and maturing UK pension funds were candid in challenging their limitations and knowing their weaknesses. While UK pension funds still have long-term time horizons, these will diminish and will have a bearing on whether it is worthwhile establishing in-house resources to manage long-term illiquid investments.

Pension fund governance: avoid the bear traps

Investment & Pensions Europe, July 2014

The UK is a divided market for pension funds and while many argue it is well-regulated, others say it is overly restrictive. In truth, both sides are right. The regulations put in place since Pensions Act 1995, the regulatory response to fraud at the Mirror Group pension fund following the death of Robert Maxwell in 1991, have succeeded in averting further scandals but have arguably hastened the demise of defined benefit (DB) schemes.

Outsourcing investment process beneficial to DB pension schemes

I&PE, June 2014

More and more pension funds are outsourcing part or all of their investment process to fiduciary managers or delegated CIOs, and in the Netherlands the majority of pension funds have already done so. Fiduciary management, solvency management, outsourced CI or delegated CIO, depending on how the various market participants label their service, can be very beneficial for defined benefit pension schemes that want or need a relatively sophisticated investment portfolio to meet their obligations.

How to mix business with pensions management

I&PE – Netherlands, November 2007

The growing interest in fiduciary management in Europe has seen the rise of fiduciary management consultants. Their task is to identify pension funds’ core competencies and help them decide on the suitable organisational model, which functions they want to outsource and which they want to keep in-house. One such consultant is Amsterdam-based Avida International BV, a firm of independent advisers which has been at the elbow of a number of high-profile fiduciary management deals involving mainly Dutch pension funds.

Deal breakers for deal makers

Fiduciary Management Magazine

The pension world has been subject to a high level of change. Mergers, pension buy-outs, fiduciary alliances, outsourcing and in-sourcing are becoming common aspects of the organisational design of pension funds. However, there is a risk that most alliances with external parties will fail to yield the desired results. Fortunately, the most common obstacles in building (fiduciary) alliances can be avoided.

Bridging the disciplines

The Finance Director

The growing complexity and demanding requirements of pension funds are increasingly calling for sophisticated solutions. Paul Boerboom of Avida International explains how his company offers a holistic approach to client needs.