Pragma was founded in 1989 and served as a nonprofit Brussels’ based think tank for European long-term investors and European policy makers until 2010. To commemorate Koen de Ryck's life work and legacy, our mission is to conduct research to support policy measures that are aimed to raise the degree of financial stability within the EMU.
Capital market perspective as a starting point of analyses
Our vision is that Pragma plays an important role in the improvement of the decision processes of policy makers and investors, whereby the perspective of the long-term investor is the starting point of the analyses.
Our focus is on financial (systemic) risk by incorporating the market discipline in the analysis. To this end, we developed a dynamic risk model with situation-dependent and time-varying parameters. Our dynamic risk model incorporates four main determinants to measure the status of financial systems or portfolios, these are:
- Probability and
Koen De Ryck – Father of European pensions
De Ryck ran Pragma in Brussels, one of Europe's most respected independent pensions consultancies.
He was the Brussels representative of the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP) from 1990 to 1997. It is for his work on pensions funds at European Union (EU) level, where he could be described as the "father of European pensions", that he will be most widely remembered.
De Ryck acted in a pivotal role regarding the European Commission (EC) and pensions when in 1996 he published his seminal report on behalf of the EFRP: European Pension Funds: Their impact on European Capital Markets and Competitiveness. The paper helped give the EC a new sense of direction regarding funded pensions and enabled the sector to be treated as distinct from other financial institutions. The report is considered to be the source of inspiration for the eventual Commission Green Paper on pensions and the ensuing EU Pensions Directive.
He worked tirelessly on behalf of European pensions, whether providing advice to governments and international organisations, or participating in conferences, seminars and studies. In his lifetime, he contributed hundreds of articles, presentations and other publications on pensions issues.
Pragma was started in 1989 on his return from the US. It was one of the first continental-based consultants to operate cross-border. De Ryck’s background was originally in asset management, first in Belgium with Banque Bruxelles Lambert and later in New York. He was a founding member of the Belgian Association of Pension Funds and was on the first Belgian commission on corporate governance issues. In 2005, he won the Outstanding Industry Contribution Award for his work in European pensions at the IPE Pensions Awards.
IPE publisher Piers Diacre recalls De Ryck's contribution to IPE in its early days. "From our very beginning, even prior to the launch of IPE, Koen was there, always supportive – giving of his time, knowledge and expertise," he said. "It was a matter of delight when IPE readers voted him for the Outstanding Industry Contribution accolade. "But perhaps more important to Koen was the fact that, as far back as the commencement of the IPE Awards in 2001, he saw two of his protégés win awards for best pension funds."
Author: Fennell Betson Source: IPE.com
The Governance/Risk Model
We have developed a governance/risk model that is meant to secure risk management as an integrated part of the investment process. Central in the model is the relation between the investor (actor), the market and the event.
This model is different from other ALM models in the sense that the actor in Pragma’s model does indeed estimate and use a subjective probability to an event. At the same time, the actor has a perception regarding the probability that the market defines with respect to that event. Whether the event occurs or not; in both cases, the risk budget of the actor has changed.
The model is dynamic. This means probabilities, and also ALM studies, need to be adjusted more regularly within the investment process. We notice that the outcome of an ALM study often is taken into account once-only. The results of the ALM study should be reviewed repeatedly in the investment process.
Pragma will unravel the decision process of long-term investors and make understandable the factors on which the decisions are based. In our opinion, this dissolution of information leads to the creation of alpha. Policy makers need to maximize value and minimize depreciation.
Pragma supplies insights in what long-term investors think is necessary for their analysis and what is necessary for the well functioning of the capital markets. For instance, what transparency is required by the marketplace? Can the system provide this transparency?
Dr. Bob Out (initiator)
Bob is currently managing director of Investablish, a corporate advisory boutique. Bob’s experience in the financial market dates back to 1982, when he started off as a fund manager for Dutch equities. In 1984 he became partner in Pacific Basin Invest which advised institutional equity investors investing in Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Korea and China. Bob then moved to Hong Kong and set up PBI Securities Hong Kong Limited where he, amongst other things, advised Chinese companies on IPO’s for the dollar denominated B-share markets in Shenzhen and Shanghai.
Bob wrote his Doctor’s thesis on Transmarket Processes in 1987. His PhD is from VU University Amsterdam. Bob has written a number of academic articles related to the Japanese market and the working of the financial system.
Furthermore, Bob is a member of the Dutch Analyst Society and participates in the Risk Management Committee.
Berry Debrauwer has an excellent track record (1975-2012) in the world of investments and risk management. Started as an investment analyst and portfolio manager, he became later on general manager of Institutional Brokerage at Van Lanschot in which he advised institutional investors both internationally and domestically. He has international experience as co-founder of the European Securities Network (ESN), a cooperation of 10 mid-sized European banks in the area of investment research and brokerage. He was the deputy CEO of this network and served as board member of ESN North America.
Berry plays an active role in the Dutch society of Investments professionals (VBA). He is chairing the Risk Management Committee and the Disciplinary Committee. Since April 2013, he is owner of Debrauwer Advies en (Interim-)Management. This company advices on investment policies and setting up risk management frameworks and performing risk analyses.
Furthermore, Berry is very active in several social functions in sports (a.o. race director charity running event) and healthcare..
Pragma wants to bring actors together and invite them to take part in discussions. Information will be gathered, analysed and disseminated to policy makers and other related members. Sponsors will get a panoramic view of what the issues in the institutional market place are. Policy makers will get a clearer idea of the possible impact of their decisions.
After all: Governments make rules, but the markets rule the world”.
Pragma's former clientele
Find below a short list of Pragma's former clientele
- Amonis vzw
- Amonis OFP
- MN Services
- Armonis BEVEK
- Threadneedle Portfolio Services
- Citibank OFP
- Vlaams Zorgfonds