Pension funds targeted with new SLAM fund

UK – Swiss Life Asset Management UK is targeting pension funds wishing to gain global exposure to equity markets outside the UK with the launch of a new fund.

The Global equity fund (ex-UK) is a fund of funds, and will invest in units from Swiss Life’s existing range of country or regional funds.

UK pension schemes are the main target for the new fund. Says SLAM’s chief executive Tom McIntosh: “With increasing demand for scheme specific benchmarks, the global equity fund enables pension schemes to obtain exposure to global equity markets outside the UK.”

The fund will comprise the Swiss Life Far East, Europe and American equity managed funds, which together have 289 holdings.

“The current weighting of the fund reflects our preference of overweighting the Far Eastern markets. We have been underweight in America compared to other regions as valuation levels remain higher than average – this position is likely to change as the US economy begins to show improved fundamentals,” added McIntosh.

Commenting on the effect of the SARS virus on Far East equities, David Netherton, director of marketing at SLAM, said that the firm will remain overweight in the asset class for the forthcoming period regardless, but would be keeping a careful eye on the developments.

Explaining the decision to be underweight in European equities, Netherton said: “We do not feel the European Central Bank has got a grip. Rates are still too high, which we feel will have a detrimental effect on business performance in the future.”

The asset allocation of the fund will be monitored and changed as appropriate to reflect market conditions.

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