ITALY – Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, one of Italy’s largest banks and asset managers, has hired MangustaRisk Ltd as consultant to its pension scheme, worth about €1bn.

MangustaRisk, which operates in Italy and the UK as a consultancy and provider of quantitative analysis, took up the role yesterday and will advise the fund on investments.

The 15,000-member Fondo Pensioni BNL is split into two sections, a pre-1993 element which in 2004 posted 5% returns, a post-1993 element that returned 3.8%.

Fund president Gianfranco Verzaro said: ”This deal has been sealed as a way of to continue in our purpose to improve the financial management of the fund.”

Verzaro emphasised that the management of assets would be based “on diversification of investment and risks, on cost efficiency and must aim at maximum returns”.

MangustaRisk partner Andrea Canavesio told IPE the firm was “proud” of the appointment. He said that the mandate had come as Italian schemes gear up for the forthcoming changes to their market arising from the pension reform of 2004.

That part of the reform that regulates the investment of employee severance pay, the Tfr, into pension funds could be implemented in January, pending an agreement between the government and the social partners.

The new regulations, which would allows workers to invest their Tfr in any pension fund, have served as a wake-up call for pension schemes to retain their members with higher degree of transparency and information.

MangustaRisk’s president Giancarlo Canavesio added: “The Italian market is poised for a significant development.”