EUROPE - The €550m pension fund for Alcatel-Lucent employees in the Netherlands has announced plans to invest €25m in an equity fund managed by asset manager TOBAM.

The technology company's pension scheme has chosen to invest the money in the French asset manager's Anti-Benchmark World Equity Fund, with Stichting Alcatel-Lucent Pensioenfonds director Cor Zeeman citing diversification as one of the driving factors.

Morella Hessels, TOBAM's business development for the Benelux region, said its anti-benchmark strategies were a "natural fit" for Dutch pension funds.

The company currently manages assets of around $2bn (€1.35bn), with just under half of those funds managed on behalf of investors in the Netherlands.

The award by Alcatel-Lucent comes only a few weeks after the $236.6bn California Public Employees' Retirement System chose TOBAM to manage a €101m global equities mandate.

In other news, Northern Trust will soon begin offering several of its investment funds via Skandia Denmark platforms.

The passive investment vehicles will be offered through Northern Trust Global Investments (NTGI), targeting pension funds.

Carsten Rønnow, head of investment at Skandia, said the passively managed index tracking solutions would allow its clients to benefit from "cost-effective beta exposure".

NTGI's managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa John Krieg added: "We continue to witness the increase in demand for passive index solutions as investors favour the risk efficient and cost-effective nature of indexing."

Meanwhile, Ireland's Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has named Capita Life & Pensions Services as scheme administrator for its defined benefit scheme.

The three-year contract, with the potential for a further three-year extension, was first tendered last November.

Capita will assist the utilities company in a shift from a final salary arrangement to career average revalued earnings (CARE), due next January.

Finally, the Leicestershire County Council Pension Fund has announced further details of its expectations for asset managers applying to be its active global credit manager.

In addition to the information released recently, which will see a £70m-80m (€78m-89m) diversified credit portfolio likely invested in bonds, the local government pension scheme is now asking that applicants have experience managing global sovereign and investment-grade credit, as well as interest rate and currency management.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate their expertise with emerging market debt, both corporate and government bonds denoted in both developed and emerging market currencies, with knowledge of private debt in both Europe and North America.

If applicants do not have experience in the three above areas, then knowledge of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities will be accepted, as well as knowledge of collateralised loan obligations, credit linked notes, sub-investment grade debt or distressed credit opportunities.

Expressions of interest must be made by 9 June.