Jaap van Dam, Principal Director Investment Strategy of PGGM
This is a great challenge, I like the fact that there are both theoretical and practical sides to this. Personally, I tend to have the most fun where theory and practice merge
Jaap van Dam, Principal Director Investment Strategy of PGGM

INTERVIEW - Meet the editorial board: Jaap van Dam

Frans van de Veen has invited Jaap van Dam as the next participant in this ‘relay interview’:

What is your personal motivation to SHIFT TO?

'I feel that the pension and investment industry can do a better job than they have done in the past decades, for both the individual pension saver and society at large. I am convinced that we should do better in turning savings into wealth, as Keynes called it. Each euro saved should lead to higher and more stable returns as well as to more sustainable and stable wealth creation. This is a great challenge. I like the fact that there are both theoretical and practical sides to this. Personally, I tend to have the most fun where theory and practice merge.'

How does this fit into your professional ambitions?

'My professional ambition is to help asset owners become even better asset owners. Long-term Investing is at the heart of that. I feel that because asset owners are at the front end of the investment chain, they have the power to change asset managers, financial markets and companies. Of course this will be a long process, but working at a large and well-known company in a network of other large asset owners is a good starting point.'

In your opinion, where should the financial industry be in seven years’ time?

'It would be great if we had strong examples of long term investing in practice, and the movement of players in the whole financial chain strongly in the direction of long term investing. How to make that move? I think there are three key principles in long term investing:

1. Only invest in capital that you expect to be productive in turning savings into wealth.

2. Be involved in the strategic value creation process of your invested capital.

3. Keep a sharp eye on the broader economic value creation of your invested capital - In other words, on the positive or negative externalities created.'

Who should we definitely hear from in this newsroom?

'I would enjoy a contribution from Frank Elderson of DNB. He appears to be thinking along the same path as we are.'

Which issue is most urgent in your view/field of work?

'In the global pension system the great challenge right now is to provide good pensions despite extremely low expected returns. The expected pension per euro of premium is at an all-time low. This development is an enormous threat not only to people – who rely upon their pensions now and/or in future - but to the pension system as a whole.'

What is your opinion on long-term investing for those who are not shareholders?

'As a matter of fact, the possibility to initiate change comes more naturally in non-listed investments, such as real estate, infrastructure and -to a lesser extent- private equity. Because of the direct and personal relationships you have with managing parties, you can spark a converstation in an easy way. This means that influencing these parties is less challenging, because of the absence of the market as an intermediary. This is true for every non-listed investment where you have ownership. If this is not the case it is slightly more complicated, but nevertheless possible.'


Jaap van Dam invites Fieke van der Lecq as the next participant in this ‘relay interview’:

And adds a question:

As a member of the Dutch Social Economic Council, how can you draw attention to long-term investing, and accelerate this shift in the financial sector?



The members of the editorial board of SHIFT TO all have professional but also very personal reasons to join this initiative. In a ‘relay interview’ we learn more about their motivations as they ask each other: ‘Why do you want to SHIFT TO?’