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ECB pension fund tenders €1bn in passive equity, bond mandates

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The European Central Bank’s (ECB) pension fund is looking to hire two passive managers for mandates worth €1bn, emphasising the importance of socially responsible investment (SRI) in its selection process.

The ECB said the two mandates would initially be worth €360m and €600m, and that the former, which it referred to as mandate A, was set to grow at a faster rate than mandate B.

The two mandates appear to cover the entirety of the ECB’s pension fund, which, according to the bank’s most recent annual report, had €651m in assets, up by €115m compared with December 2013.

The bank also runs a defined contribution scheme for additional voluntary contributions, valued at €110m at the end of 2014.

Managers are being asked to bid for passive developed and emerging market equity mandates, inflation-linked bond mandates and both euro-denominated corporate and euro-zone sovereign bond mandates.

The tender added that a track record managing euro-denominated money market funds would be preferable, and that it would allow active management when it came to its exposure to inflation-linked bonds.

Any managers interested in either mandate will be required to apply for both, which the ECB said would allow for “interchangeability” of mandates.

The first-ranked manager will be given the option to choose which of the two mandates it wishes to manage, the bank added.

Contracts are set to run for eight years, although the ECB can renew them for a further two years if it wishes.

Despite the ECB pension fund not being a signatory of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, the bank said only asset managers supporting the venture or similar undertakings would be considered for either mandate.

It also emphasised the importance of SRI, saying managers should have a “verifiable”, two-year performance record managing at least one equity or bond mandate applying SRI considerations.

Interested managers must have at least €15bn in total institutional assets under management, of which €10bn should be in passive mandates, and have until 25 January to apply. 

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