“Getting a taste of the Champions League of Asset Management”

Published on: 3 April 2020

A new group of trainees will start at APG on October 1st. And despite the current situation caused by the corona crisis, the vacancies for this traineeship have been unfulfilled since April 1st. The feisty procedure takes a few months to complete. Hans Rademaker, starting as a trainee himself in 1987 at Van Lanschot Kempen, meanwhile holds the position of Chief Fiduciary Officer and is a member of the Management Board of APG AM. In addition, he oversees the traineeships.


What does a traineeship at APG Asset Management involve?

“This is a two years’ program where trainees sign up for a certain process, for example at Portfolio Management, Operations & IT or Finance & Risk. They carry out four assignments in these two years, which means they get to know APG pretty well. Not only the way in which we work, but also our standards and values. Apart from the substantive knowledge required, a great deal of attention is also paid to personal development. They go through the entire process with the other trainees who joined us this round and such group often continues to be tight for quite some time. The program results in valuable contacts for the remainder of your career at APG. This means we have very powerful people at the end of those two years who we are happy to employ as colleagues.

The ultimate goal is for these trainees to be employed by APG after two years and this job guarantee is offered by us. This assures the trainee that he or she doesn’t have to apply for an internal vacancy once the traineeship has ended. We obviously pay close attention to the match between the needs of the trainees and those of the organization when offering a job.”


Why should a young professionals choose APG?

“APG offers amazing opportunities as the trainees gain experience at one of the largest pension providers in the world. Specifically, when you look at Asset Management, the trainees will be dealing with portfolio management on a scale only a few organizations of this size have. We conduct business with parties belonging to the top of the world, ourselves included. As a trainee, you are allowed to get a taste of the Champions League of Asset Management. That may sound a bit arrogant, but that’s just the way it is.”


What type of trainees are we looking for?

“We are looking for people who, first of all, are able to identify with the social role of APG. Someone who preferably engages in commercial goals is not a right fit for us. The people at APG are ultimately working for our participants and, besides good financial returns, we also have the obligation to realize a good social return.


In addition, and no less important, the trainees must be able to help us digitalizing further. Affinity with digitalization is a must to move forward in the digital world. We have to achieve a situation in which everyone can work anytime, anyplace, anywhere at any device and with the same information. Not only for us, but also for our clients. That calls for an entirely different way of handling information. Take, for example, annual reports and news articles: instead of analyzing these manually, we want to start the process of using algorithms to scan the annual reports and other news articles after which the particulars are presented to us. That has to be something a trainee is interested in and he or she must have the competence to contribute to similar initiatives.


Motivation, passion, interest and drive are just as important as a good education and good basic skills. If you are a digital illiterate, it will become very difficult to keep up and to make a valuable contribution.”


What does APG itself want to achieve with this?

“One of the goals we are also looking to achieve with the trainee program is more diversity in the broadest sense of the word. Not only the ratio between men and women, but also the ratio between young and old is important. We also strive to employ people from different cultures and so it’s very convenient that also English-speaking trainees from different countries and cultures are more than welcome at Asset Management.”


What would you like to say to future trainees, do you have a tip?

“My advice is: invest in yourself during the trainee period. Don’t expect to be handed a great job on a platter without having to work for it really hard. I always say that you also have to perform certain chores, show endurance and have patience to eventually end up in the position you strive for. And I don’t mean that disrespectfully. Every job will involve tasks that need to be done and that nobody really likes. But by taking on also those less desirable tasks, you can learn a lot and are able to prove yourself. And if you do, I’m sure you will make it!”