NETHERLANDS - The €850m pension fund of Dutch construction group VolkerWessels has appointed specialist Swiss asset manager EIM Group to manage a €425m absolute return portfolio, IPE has learnt.

Rob Kragten, the VolkerWessels fund's managing director, told IPE this morning: "We have a matching portfolio in which we cover a few risks in relation to the liabilities, but next to this money also needs to be generated and therefore we have an absolute return portfolio."

The scheme adopted a new investment approach last year to reduce short-term overall risk levels via liability-matching, while aiming for a strict annual return target through a diversified return portfolio.

"The portfolio consist of alternative investments and long-only funds, and for this we sought a manager who could deliver good products, but also would chose an active position in the risk management," said Kragten.

The largest part of the portfolio, outsourced to EIM on April 1, is invested in equity followed by an allocation to hedge funds.

"The allocation to hedge funds was made because we believe that like this you can manage the risks, particularly the risk of a declining portfolio, in a better way," added Kragten.

Apart from this new mandate for EIM, VolkerWessels already outsourced its liability-matching portfolio to Dutch investment fund First Liability Matching (First-LM) in November last year.