July 10, 2012 / 8:00 AM / 6 years ago

Dutch pension fund files claims against Goldman

LONDON (Reuters) - Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Vervoer has filed two claims totaling up to 240 million euros ($300 million) against a unit of Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N), alleging negligence leading to losses, lawyers for the fund told Reuters.

The transport workers’ pension fund alleged that Goldman Sachs Asset Management International, in its capacity as fiduciary manager, made inappropriate investments at the height of the financial crisis, lawyers Brown Rudnick said.

The claims, filed at the High Court in London on Monday, relate to the period 2006-2010.

One of the claims, of up to 81 million euros, relates to investments in subprime debt made in 2007. The other claim, of up to 159 million euros, alleges the asset manager took too long to implement a mandate to invest in global high yield bonds during 2009, which resulted in substantial losses, Brown Rudnick said.

A spokeswoman for the Goldman Sachs unit said: “We acted prudently and complied with our mandate, fulfilling our obligations to our client. We believe the claim is without merit based on the facts of the situation, and we will certainly contest it.”

Vervoer, which according to its website manages nearly 11 billion euros in assets for employers and employees in the transport sector, replaced Goldman Sachs as asset manager in 2010 following poor performance, albeit at a particularly turbulent time in markets globally.

At the time it said the change followed a “comprehensive evaluation” of its four-year relationship with Goldman Sachs.

The 2008 financial crisis wiped 112 billion euros off Dutch pension funds’ portfolios, putting many funds below the 100 percent solvency level and the minimum funding requirement of 105 percent set by the central bank to ensure that funds are in good health and capable of meeting liabilities.

That led to calls for an overhaul of the 800 billion euro industry and to talks between employers and unions — who are both involved in the management of pension funds in the Netherlands — about who should bear investment risks and to what extent pensions should be guaranteed. ($1 = 0.8130 euros)

(Reporting By Anjuli Davies; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

This story has been corrected in the penultimate paragraph of the July 9 story, to "Dutch pension funds' portfolios", from "Vervoer's portfolios"

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