‘I am not of the school that you should not take a risk’
ASR CEO Jos Baeten was in the Efteling when he was called by Annette Mosman, board member of pension provider APG. In the autumn of 2018, representatives of ASR negotiated with APG to take over insurance company Loyalis. “She told me we were almost there,” Baeten recalls. “Another small increase in the offer and Loyalis would be ours.” ASR added something and the deal was done.
The phone call is typical Mosman, Baeten thinks. She could also have shouted at the negotiating table that the offer had to be raised. But Mosman chose the “informal line.” And got what she wanted. Baeten, an experienced insurance executive, was impressed by Mosman’s analytical and negotiating skills. Beginners often make the mistake of thinking only in their own interest, says Baeten. “Mosman has an eye for everyone involved, including shareholders, employees and supervisory directors. And she keeps all those relationships good.”
An eye for everyone involved and she keeps all relationships good
These are skills that will come in handy in her new job. As of March 1, Mosman (53) will succeed Gerard van Olphen as chairman of the board of APG. This makes her ultimately responsible for the management and settlement of the pensions of approximately 4.5 million Dutch people, including participants of the country’s largest pension fund ABP (teachers and civil servants). That means conflicting interests, political interference, pressure from trade unions and employers. At the same time, with assets under management of EUR 573 billion, APG is a major player in the international investment world, the domain of hedge funds, investment banks and private equity parties.
The most important task for Mosman will be a smooth transition to a new pension system, for which the basis has been laid in the pension agreement of 2019. Details of this are not yet known, the Senate and House of Representatives have yet to make a decision. As an implementer, APG is not involved in the decision-making process. But Mosman does want to participate in the discussion to guarantee that the new pension contract is easy to implement. “The problems at the tax authorities show how important that is,” Mosman says in a telephone conversation.
Daughter of a cigar farmer
Annette Mosman grew up in Amsterdam as the daughter of a cigar farmer. She recently moved to live ‘outside the ring’ for the first time, the Museumplein became too busy for her. That she ended up in the financial world is more or less because of a mistake in high school. Mosman – the first in the family to complete pre-university education and study – wanted to become a doctor, but realized too late that she needed physics in her subject package.
It became economics and at the age of 23 Mosman started working at accountancy and consultancy firm KPMG. From 2011 until the sale to ASR in 2018, she was a board member of the Dutch subsidiary of the Italian insurance group Generali, first as financial director and later as chairman of the board. She then moved to APG, where she became responsible for finance and risk management.
A career within the boundaries of the financial sector, therefore, but Mosman’s additional positions catch the eye. Mosman, a handball player of origin, treasurer of sports umbrella organization NOC*NSF and recently commissioner at Ajax, is responsible for finances. Less than two months after her appointment, she made a rather risky decision. Mosman authorized the most expensive transfer in club history, the purchase of French striker Sébastian Haller for 22.5 million euros. “My job is to manage the risks,” Mosman says. “But I’m not of the school that you should never take risks. Then there is no return.”
Mosman also supervises the Jeroen Bosch Hospital and the finances and investments of KWF Kankerbestrijding. The choice for the latter organization is not accidental. Mosman lost her husband to cancer at a young age while pregnant with her first child. Hard work was a way out in those years, she says. “A way not to be that pathetic widow.”
Co-supervisor at KWF Frederieke Leeflang praises Mosman’s social commitment and her ability to ask difficult questions in a charming way, for example to accountants or the financial director. According to Jos Baeten of ASR, that charm is partly in her sense of humor. Example? The acquisition of Generali was internally codenamed ‘Amarone’ at ASR. When that was settled, Baeten sent a bottle of Amarone to Mosman. The Loyalis acquisition was codenamed ‘labrador’. Baeten: “Mosman texted that she already had a dog. She would have preferred another bottle of Amarone.”