Nordea Asset Management has joined the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB), an initiative launched in December 2014 by Aviva Investors, the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) and Vigeo Eiris, among others.

The Nordic manager, with €184bn in assets under management (AUM), will be a member of the CHRB steering committee for an initial period of three years.

The founding partners, in addition to those mentioned above, included US SRI-specialised asset manager Calvert Investments, the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and the UK Institute for Human Rights and Business.

The CHRB initiative completed a consultation on its methodology in October 2015 and is now revising the draft framework and indicators.

It will publish the final methodology in March.

For the rest of the year, the CHRB will research, assess and rank 100 companies in the extractives, apparel and agricultural products industries, and publish its first pilot benchmark on these companies in November.

Magdalena Kettis, head of thematic research at Nordea AM, will represent the manager on the committee.

In other news, Lyxor Asset Management has been selected to manage the corporate pension liabilities of French utility company Engie, the former GDF Suez.

The company has €2.5bn of pension liabilities via insurance policies.

Lionel Paquin, chief executive at Lyxor AM, said the deal represented “the largest multi-management platform covering corporate pensions’ liabilities in Europe”.

Elsewhere, US asset manager Legg Mason has agreed to buy an 83% ownership stake in real estate investment firm Clarion Partners for $585m (€542m), plus an estimated $16m for its portion of certain co-investments.

Clarion manages some $40bn of real estate assets of varied risk/return profiles.

Legg Mason, which had $671.5bn in AUM at the end of December, has also got its first foothold in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) market, having acquired a minority equity position in Precidian Investments.  

The asset manager is also merging its hedge fund platform, Permal, with EnTrust Capital, a hedge fund investor and alternative asset manager with around $12bn in AUM.