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French reserve fund set to name overlay manager

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FRANCE - The 16 billion-euro French reserve fund, the Fonds de réserve pour les retraites, is going to appoint an overlay manager by the end of July, the president of the scheme’s executive board, Francis Mayer, says.

Mayer made the announcement today as he presented the FRR’s 2003 annual report with Raoul Briet, president of the supervisory board, at an event in Paris.

The fund, which earlier today awarded its final 1.88 billion euros of assets to managers, tendered for the overlay manager in January.

The publicly-owned FFR will also put out a request for tender for socially responsible investments and private equity mandates between the end of the year and the beginning of 2005, it also emerged.

The sum dedicated to the asset classes would be in the “hundreds of millions of euros” region, a fund spokeswoman said.

Executive board member Antoine de Salins told IPE that the selected overlay manager would be expected to provide advice on macro-economic aspects and to execute transactions to hedge the fund’s currency risk.

The manager would also be required to execute transactions in order to manage the fund’s tactical allocation. "We have received applications from all the major international financial houses, no surprise there," he said.

De Salins told IPE: "We are going to invest at least 16 billion euros on the mandates we have finished to select but we have plans to launch a new tender for private equities management and also a mandate dedicated to SRI."

The fund said in its annual report that it has so far confined its SRI portfolio to the euro-zone and non-euro large-cap equities area. "Socially responsible fund management practices are heterogeneous and lack sufficient maturity,” it said.

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