NETHERLANDS - The €250m Dutch pension fund of energy company Total has contracted out its asset management to pensions provider Blue Sky Group.

The Stichting Pensioenfonds Total Nederland has to date managed its assets internally but has decided to break with tradition when its in-house asset manager retires.

The decision to outsource its asset management has also been driven by the increasing requirements for risk management, according to the pension fund.

The pension fund said the decisive factor for choosing Blue Sky was that the pension provider spoke "the language of a pension fund".

During the selection process by Bureau Bosch the Total scheme said it looked at the criteria of organisation, costs, client-friendliness and track record, as well as the "comfort feeling" of the three short-listed candidates.

The scheme's board is being advised on asset management by its investment committee, supported by Mercer and an internal adviser.

The pension fund's cover ratio has risen to approximately 100% on the back of an 18% return on investments last year. During 2008, the scheme's funding ratio dropped from 145% to 86%.

The Total scheme is the 13th client of Blue Sky Group, the pension provider of the six pension funds of KLM, the Dutch scheme of oil giant BP and electronics firm Alcatel-Lucent.

Blue Sky Group saw its combined assets under management rise by €1.4bn to €12bn in 2009, it reported.