ITALY - Cometa, the pension fund for mechanical and engineering employees, has appointed Allianz Global Investors to manage a €406m absolute return mandate.

The mandate has been awarded to Allianz in addition to the existing absolute return allocation of €206m run by its affiliate RCM, which is the global investment platform for equities for the firm.

Cometa, which is the largest occupational scheme in Italy with total assets of approximately €3.5bn, adopted the absolute return protection strategy in 2004 and is managed by the systematic team at RCM, headed by Herold Rohweder in Frankfurt. 

Allianz said the systematic team currently uses dynamic asset allocation strategies that aim to provide Cometa with "upside participation in rising equity markets and downside protection needed during times of volatility".

Michel Haski, head of business development at Allianz Global Investors Europe, said the mandate win was important in broadening its existing relationships with European businesses.

"We have had a great start to the year, and we hope to be able to continue to build on this success and further grow our European institutional business throughout 2008," added Haski.

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