UK – Asset management firm Martin Currie Investment Management has funded a university professorship with a total of 250,000 pounds (356,700 euros).

The firm is to put 50,000 pounds a year for five years to the new University of Edinburgh Martin Currie Chair in Finance and Investment.

The initiative is part of the university’s management school's drive to “foster closer links with the financial services industry and meet its needs for highly skilled and qualified personnel”.

"The support of a leading, specialist investment firm like Martin Currie reaffirms our standing as one of Europe's top business schools,” said Professor Irvine Lapsley, head of the management school.

"Our sponsorship of this chair confirms our commitment to delivering innovative investment solutions for our clients,” said Martin Currie chief executive Willie Watt.

“For example, our industry needs to understand better the challenges facing pension funds as they seek to match assets and liabilities. We will work closely with the Martin Currie Professor and students to produce seminal research and apply that to our business."

Martin Currie spokesman Ross Leckie said other firms such as Wellington were much engaged with academic institutions. “We see it as an investment. A very sound investment in intellectual capital.”

The move comes as martin Currie comes off an “extremely good” financial year, Leckie said. Assets under management have risen 33% to 7.8 billion pounds from October 2003, mostly in so-called high alpha.