NETHERLANDS - PGGM's Hans Spikker is to join ABP at the end of 2007 as manager of its non-listed European real estate portfolio.

Spikker will replace Rob Bingen, who left in October to head Schroder's €2.2bn European property multi-manager operation, after a decade at the €215bn Dutch pension scheme.

ABP spokesman Thijs Steger stressed Spikker's appointment did not signify a shift in its real estate investment approach. "We remain focussed at both non-listed and listed real estate," he said.

That said, the appointment of Spikker, whose previous appointments included a stint at the Shell pension scheme, is unlikely to be ABP's last. The scheme "is gradually growing its team, in particular in Asia", said Steger, as ABP earlier this year opened an office in Hong Kong.

In the meantime, PGGM spokesman said the €81bn scheme would make an announcement "probably within a couple of weeks" but last week could not confirm the scheme had already recruited Spikker's replacement.

Dutch pension funds have faced increasing competition from fund managers for real estate investment specialists.

Real estate securities analyst Jorit Arissen left ABP in August, after just over a year to join fund manager F&C as portfolio manager for European property equities. And Blue Sky Group, the fund manager for three KLM pension funds collectively worth more than €10bn, last month lost fund manager Hidde Frequin just five months after he joined and eight months after his predecessor, Raymond Satumalaij, left to join Bouwfonds.