GERMANY - Franco-German pharmaceuticals company Aventis has awarded a Depotbank mandate to State Street for its 1.7 billion euros of funded pension arrangements in Germany.

"Our big liabilities were in Germany," said Dr. Petra Zamagna, head of benefits finance and asset management at Aventis and chair of the Aventis Pension Trust's investment committee. She pointed out that there 2.3 billion euros in liabilities and that the trust is funded at 1.7 billion euros.

She said the selection process for the Depotbank brief, which involves custody and accounting, was between State Street and J P Morgan Chase. Deutsche Bank’s Global Securities Services would have been a candidate before State Street bought it, she said.

"We just started our pension fund recently," added Zamagna, explaining that the trust was a defined benefit plan which aims to simulate an Anglo-Saxon type pension trust, in that it involves segregated assets that are off the sponsor's balance sheet.

"Unfortunately the German government is not putting in an efficient structure," Zamagna said. As for changes to the occupational pension arrangements in France, she said: "We wait for better times."

She said the fund has six asset managers, with money now in position. She declined to name the managers.

Financial terms of the contract, which also includes performance and analytics services, were not disclosed.

"This mandate is a testament to the strength of our service offerings as well as our ability to win new clients while successfully integrating the global securities services business we acquired from Deutsche Bank," said Stefan Gmuer, senior vice president of State Street in Munich.

"The knowledge capital and additional capabilities we have gained from this acquisition are already reaping results for us."

Strasbourg, France-based Aventis was formed in 1999 with the merger of Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc.