UK – Warwickshire County Council has appointed JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) to run its active global credit investment mandate.
The mandate will invest in JPMAM's Strategic Bond Fund, a diversified fixed income fund investing across global government and corporate debt.
The council said the unconstrained approach would allow the managers, Bob Michele and Nick Gartside, to seek out the most attractive return opportunities from around the world including, but not limited to, high yield, investment-grade credit, covered bonds and emerging market debt.
The strategy, which runs £678m (€835m) in assets as at 31 October 2012, returned 5.9% over the 12 months ended 31 October, and 32.7% since inception on 6 May 2009.
The pension fund, part of the local government pension scheme (LGPS), invests on behalf of 77 employers across Warwickshire, including district and borough councils, schools, colleges and charitable organisations, and has 13,000 active members and 7,000 pensioners.
As at 31 March 2012, its £1.2bn portfolio included £217m in bonds (18%), £537m in UK equities (45%) and £264m in overseas equities (22%).
Just over £848m (71%) of total investments was held in managed funds.
Mathew Dawson, acting group manager of the treasury and pensions team at Warwickshire County Council, said: "Following the investment board's decision to seek a diversified product that offers a good risk-adjusted return with the flexibility to protect capital, it sought to identify the most appropriate fund in the marketplace.
"It was felt that JP Morgan's track record, extensive research capabilities and client service, as well as the nature of the fund, would make for a long, mutually beneficial relationship."
Nick Gartside, international CIO of fixed income at JPMAM, said: "With interest rates in many developed markets at generational lows and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, there is increasing appetite from pension funds and other institutions for this sort of unconstrained fixed income strategy, as investors move from using fixed income as a pure portfolio hedge to a source of return."