EUROPE - Avon Pension Fund has awarded Schroder Investment Management a £130m (€148m) global equity mandate as part of a reassessment of the scheme's asset allocation.

The mandate, first tendered last year, came as part of Bath and North East Somerset Council's plans to rebalance its equity exposure from 60% UK equities to 55% overseas stocks.

A spokesman for the £2.45bn local government pension scheme said that, as part of this shift in strategy, funds for Schroders' portfolio were being diverted away from BlackRock's passive multi-asset mandate, which in March last year accounted for almost 58% of the scheme's total assets under management.

He added that while the initial mandate proposed a £136m investment, this was likely to rise to approximately £150m to take account of returns made since June last year.

Schroders' portfolio will come in addition to two further overseas equity portfolios, managed by State Street and Invesco Perpetual, accounting for around 10% of scheme assets.

The five-year mandate proposes Schroders outperform either the MSCI All Country World index or the FTSE All World index on a rolling three-year basis, returing 2-4% above benchmark.

Meanwhile, the UK Treasury is tendering for actuarial advice relating to its plan to make repayments to customers of Equitable Life.

Having previously unveiled the £1.5bn Equitable Life Payments Scheme in last year's Comprehensive Spending Review, HM Treasury then appointed Towers Watson as actuarial consultants.

A spokeswoman for the treasury confirmed that the tender was in addition to the work conducted by Towers Watson, with interested parties asked to assist in understanding the existing actuarial model for repayment.

Additionally, the actuary is asked to communicate the results of the actuarial model to the Treasury and other stakeholders, as well as modify the model where needed.

The contract, estimated to be worth as much as £5m, will be awarded by the end of June, while interested parties should apply to the Treasury by 14 April.

In other news, the Norwegian regional authority of Karasjok is tendering for a public occupational pension provider, starting next year.

Further information on the four-year contract can be obtained from Aon Grieg, with the kommune expecting to award three contracts. Expressions of interest should be made by 15 April.

Finally, the £2.2bn Saint-Gobain UK pension scheme has appointed Mercer as administration providers.

The consultancy already provides administration services to the scheme and has seen its contract extended a further seven years.