This month APK-Pensionkasse in Vienna will be awarding a US$25/30m global and/or European equities mandate to an external fund manager,for implementation in 1998,following interviews with bidders last month.

A spokesman for APK says: We shall short-list and make a decision in September. It is not yet clear whether it will be for European or global investments."

The AS12bn ($920m) APK pension fund - which has traditionally invested a large slice of its investments in domestic bonds (currently 43%) - is seeking a much higher return in future, so it is currently undergoing a strategic re-think aimed at accelerating the fund's equity allocation from 18% to 40% of total assets over the next two to five years.

APK says that it will also be awarding a mandate for Asian equities before long and that the funding for both projects will come from a combination of new pension contributions and a reduction in the bond allocation.

APK will take a rain check later this year - on prevailing market conditions - before determining the extent to which its equity brief will be European and/or global."