UK - The £773m (€1.17bn) Bedfordshire County Council Pension Fund has appointed JPMorgan Asset Management to manage a £20m currency mandate, to be invested in the firm's Managed Currency Plus fund.

Geoff Reader, head of pensions and treasury management at the local authority fund, commented: " We have been diversifying our portfolio by adding new sources of non-correlated alpha."

He added that the council believes that investing in the currency fund will prove to be an important part of that diversification.

Though the mandate was already awarded via a tender procedure in July last year, it was funded only recently according to a JPMorgan spokeswoman.

JPMorgan said that the fund, which has weekly liquidity, is a Lux part 2 SICAV and targets an absolute return of 20% including Sterling 1 month LIBOR.

This is one of a number of innovations by the mid-England scheme.

In November, IPE reported that Bedfordshire began investing in a new currency fund targeted at UK local authorities when FX Concepts, a New York-based currency manager, announced the launch of its Concepts Multi-Strategy Institutional Fund - GBP Shares fund, adding that the launch was seeded by Bedfordshire.