UK - Newton Investment Management says it has hired Jason Pidcock, a fund manager from BP Investment Management, the firm which manages the pension assets of oil firm BP.

Newton, UK asset management unit of Mellon Financial Corp., said it has hired Pidcock to lead its Far East ex-Japan team as a director of investment management.

Pidcock joins on August 9 and will report to Jeff Munroe, chief investment officer of Newton. Colin Maltby, head of investments at BP in London, did not return calls seeking comment.

Newton said: "Pidcock joins Newton from BP Investment Management where he was responsible for over 700 million dollars of the BP Pension Fund invested in Australia, China, Hong Kong and South East Asia.

"At BP he was jointly responsible for asset allocation within the Asia-Pacific region, and an integral member of the team deciding regional allocation within the BP Pension Fund."

Newton added that BP's Pacific ex-Japan portfolio "contributed significantly to BP Investment Management's performance over the three years to December 2003

"We are extremely pleased to announce Jason's appointment," said Munroe. "His experience in managing Far East equities makes him a valuable addition to our investment team at Newton."

Meanwhile, BP has gone live with its new in-house pensions administration service as part of its move to bring administration back in-house. Software firm Aquila said in a release that BP has now gone live with its 'administrator' product.