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Sanford takes a bigger slice of CPM pie

After a four month search, Caisse de Prévoyance des Medecins (CPM), the Brussels-based pensions scheme for the Belgian medical profession, has ap-pointed two new managers.

New York manager Sanford C Bernstein & Co is to manage an emerging markets portfolio, excluding Europe and South East Asia equity, mainly Latin America.

CPM deputy general manager, Karel Stroobants, says it was a classical procedure of working from a list of six possible candidates put forward by Brussels firm Pragma Consulting. These were assessed against the profile, followed by a questionnaire, plus supplemenatary questions and narrowed down to three, who were visited. We think it is essential to see managers operate in their offices," says Stroobants. "Their culture and their style is more important for us than the performance."

CPM's board made their decision from two finalists. "Sanford had a small preference in their favour as they are already managers for the fund," says Stroo-bants. "It was a close race. The element in their favour was the convincing power of their value approach, which is defensive in those markets." The portfolio value is $10m. The New York manager would not comment on the appointment.

The other mandate was for an existing European small and mid cap (ex Belgium) portfolio , which was won by Singer & Friedlander in London. The managers had been in the position of being what Stroobants calls 'a shadow manager' - managers who are in the same region or capitalisation sector as the existing managers, but are followed more closely than others, he explains. "But we invited other managers to participate," he adds. This is a $16m portfolio handled by Framlington previously.

At Singer & Friedlander, managing director, Peter Dencik, says the firm was very pleased to gain this contract, which is its first win in Belgium. "This makes it very important for us," he says adding, "We see it as indicative of what is happening on the continent with the move to more specialist mandates and especially to regard small/mid cap as a separate asset class."

CPM's search for an Eastern Europe manager is still open, says Stroobants. Though commenced at the same time as the others, it was not sucessful. "We could not find a money manager on the list that completely satisfied us.""

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