GERMANY – The €6.5bn Nordrheinische Ärzteversorgung pension fund, the industry-wide scheme for doctors in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, has appointed Wellington Capital Management, Putnam Investments, JP Morgan Fleming and Lloyd George Management to run various mandates worth a combined €200m.

Wellington will manage a core US equity portfolio, Putnam, a small to mid-cap US brief, whilst JP Morgan Fleming and Lloyd Gorge will each run Far Eastern (ex-Japan) equity mandates. All four briefs are each worth €50m.

The new managers complement the existing US value and US growth equity portfolios run by Hotchkis and Willey and Goldman Sachs Asset Management respectively.

A spokesman for the Düsseldorf-based fund says the managers were chosen because of their long-term investment processes and performance records and the scheme hopes to have the mandates in place by next month. Bad Homburg-based consultancy firm, FERI Institutional Management advised the fund on the selections.

“We decided to diversify somewhat our equity portfolio through investments in the US and Far East as we believe these present better opportunities for higher returns than here in Europe at the moment,” says the spokesman.

Equities account for 25% of the fund’s overall investment strategy, against 23% in mortgage loans, 12% in real estate, 30% in German government bonds and 10% in corporate and emerging market bonds.

But this may change, as the spokesman says the scheme will put out a RFP in August for managers for a €250m property portfolio and is considering moving into the hedge fund business next year.

“We have been looking closely at opportunities in alternative investments recently and have decided to investigate the return possibilities of allocating 2-3% of our assets in hedge funds early next year,” he says.