NETHERLANDS – Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Europe’s largest pension fund, is considering opening an office in Asia.

“ABP is looking at it,” a scheme spokesperson told IPE. However, he could not verify how large the office would be or where it was likely to be located.

Hong Kong is top of the list, said ABP chief investment officer Roderick Munsters, according to Dutch radio station ‘Limburg L1ve Internet Radio’. He added that Shanghai and Singapore are also in the running, however.

The ABP spokesperson was unable to confirm whether this was correct.

According to the news report, a base in Asia will enable the fund to take advantage of local investment opportunities in the region.

Earlier this week, ABP announced it is currently in the process of establishing a new strategic investment plan to run from 2007 to 2009. The new plan is likely to be released at the end of summer.

In other news, an international investor shareholder group comprising pension schemes in the UK, Netherlands, Australia and America has reached a major corporate governance settlement with media mogul Robert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

The settlement comes just two weeks before trial was due to start in the Delaware Chancery Court relating to News Corp’s contested extension of an anti-takeover poison pill provision.

The group brought their suit last October, seeking to compel the media giant to honour an earlier pledge not to extend its poison pill provision beyond a 12-month period without express shareholder approval, according to a statement.

As part of the settlement, News Corp. will put the proposed poison pill extension to shareholder vote at the company’s annual meeting in October.

If approved, shareholders would have the right to vote on any subsequent poison pill provision the company raises for the next 20 years, according to one statement. This has been labelled “a major outcome that assures investor participation on a key aspect of News Corp’s corporate strategy”.

The shareholder group was represented by securities law firm Grant Eisenhofer.