UK - The £700m (€1.065bn) Building & Civil Engineering Benefits Scheme (B&CE) has awarded Invesco Perpetual with a £70m absolute return UK equity mandate recently.

The move follows another equity mandate of a similar size which the fund awarded to Black Rock at the same time, according to Brian Griffith, chief executive of B&CE Benefit Schemes.

"At the last valuation date we had a surplus: we were 110% funded, so we decided to lock away some of the assets to cover the liabilities so we have a gilt portfolio with Legal & General," said Griffith.

He added: "For the balance of the fund we decided to diversify and spread it around a bit, and Invesco was one of the manager we decided to use on an absolute return basis."

The fund has currently invested 60% in gilts and also has a property element so the move into equities is to "balance" the portfolio: "It's a closed fund and the average duration is 14 or 15 years," said Griffith.

The fund, advised by Hewitt, does not plan to make any other changes to its asset allocations in the near future, though it plans to monitor the investment managers.

Elsewhere it emerged that the National University of Ireland has replaced Mercer with Coyle Hamilton Willis as consultant to its pension fund.

The Dublin-based investment consultant - which claims to be the  largest in the Irish market - won a four-way tender to advise the pension scheme.

Spokesman Derek Gaynor said the fund had awarded the five-year contract back in September but waited until January to announce it was part of "an end-of-year clean-up".