EUROPE - Germany's largest pension fund, the €49bn Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK), has awarded Pantheon a private equity fund-of-funds mandate believed to be worth hundreds of millions of euro.

A spokesman at Pantheon said his company had been working with BVK for four years. He declined to reveal the size of the mandate, saying only that it was "considerable".

He noted that, due to the long-term nature of private equity investments, it made sense for BVK's mandate to look toward a decade-long investment horizon.

Stressing the mandate's global approach, he added that Pantheon would be looking to invest in North America, Europe and Australia, as well as Asia, Latin America and Africa, on the scheme's behalf.

Daniel Just, deputy chief executive and head of investments at BVK, added: "We are very pleased to be working more closely with Pantheon, with whom we have had a strong relationship for many years. Their expertise and global reach makes them the ideal partner for this joint programme."

In other news, Polestar Pension Trustees has appointed Mercer to carry out administration services for Polestar's closed, defined-benefit pension scheme.
The scheme, which has been closed to new members since April 2003, has more than 8,600 pensioners and deferred members.
Jill Carruthers, a principal at Mercer and client relationship manager for the Polestar scheme, said: "The scheme is among a growing number of closed schemes now outsourced to external administrators.

"The benefits of this move include long-term cost savings and efficiencies from using a specialist provider, and the ongoing investment in staff training, online member communications and specialist administration systems."

In Wales, the pension fund for Gwynedd Council has tendered a four-year mandate to manage its global equity portfolio.

Gwynedd is seeking to establish a framework agreement comprising a number of unconstrained, long-only, active global equity managers.

The manager's investment objective will be to outperform a global equity index - provisionally, the MSCI AC World - by 2.5-4% a year over rolling three-year periods.

A wide range of investment styles will be considered.

The mandate is for as much as 20% of the pension fund's assets, representing around £195m (€224m).

The scheme said single or multiple mandates might be awarded concurrently or consecutively.

Meanwhile, Northern Trust has entered into an investment operations outsourcing agreement with global asset manager RCM - a company owned by Allianz Global Investors.

Northern Trust will provide middle-office services for RCM investment teams in three regions - Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America - on Northern Trust's global operations platform.

Services will include post-trade execution support, trade processing and settlement, data management, reconciliations, portfolio accounting, client valuations and administration for teams based in Hong Kong, London and San Francisco.

Northern Trust's outsourcing services will also support RCM sales and relationship teams in Singapore, Taiwan, Tokyo and Frankfurt.

Lastly, a pension fund based in Continental Europe is looking to award a $150m (€110m), euro-denominated corporate debt mandate, using IPE Quest.

In search QN1207, the European pension fund is seeking to appoint a manager that will adopt a passive investment strategy and replicate the Merrill Lynch EMU non-financial corporate index.

Interested parties should have at least $500m of assets in similar mandates, with at least $2.5bn in total assets under management.

Additionally, a track record of three years is required, with five years of trading experience preferred.

Interested parties should apply by 5 October, stating investment performance net of fees until the end of June.

The news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE Quest tender notices to protect the interests of clients conducting the search. To obtain information directly from IPE Quest, please contact Jayna Vishram on +44 (0) 20 7261 4630 or email