UK - Flintshire County Council has awarded a 42 million-pound (62.8 million-euro) US risk-controlled equity mandate on behalf of the 550 million-pound Clwyd Pension Fund to T. Rowe Price.

The appointment results in Baring Asset Management losing the mandate and comes after an “optimisation exercise”, a Flintshire spokesman said.

Todd Ruppert, chief executive of T. Rowe Price Global Investment Services, said: “This new client represents an important further step forward in our overall strategy for success in the UK and continental Europe.”

The asset manager said it had focused on continental Europe, especially the Nordic, Swiss and Dutch institutional markets, offering segregated account management in asset classes and a SICAV collective fund in Luxembourg.

“The firm stepped up its UK focus during the latter part of 2003,” said the group, which manages 201 billion dollars.

“In the UK we have experienced an increasing interest in low tracking error equity strategies. We are encouraged that institutional investors, such as Clwyd Pension Fund are attracted to out US Structured research strategy,” Ruppert said.

Clwyd Pension Fund, the officer said, also has assets in private equity and market neutral equities and properties.

In the last few weeks, the fund awarded hedge fund mandates to Gartmore, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Quellos and Pioneer.