UK – Norfolk County Council’s 1.137 billion pound (1.73 billion euro) pension fund has put out to tender a 200 million pound (304.5 million euro) UK equity mandate, currently managed by Societe General Asset Management.

A spokeswoman at the pension fund for the county in eastern England confirmed that the mandate had been reviewed and re-tendered due to a “performance issue”, but added that SGAM had been invited to reapply.

She added: “When we awarded SGAM the mandate it was very innovative, and we are very pleased with the SRI and corporate governance side of the mandate, which has been handled excellently.”

The closing date for applications for the mandate is January 26, with a final decision due in June.

If SGAM is not re-appointed as fund manager for the portfolio it will be the first loss of a current mandate for a UK pension fund since the UK subsidiary’s inception in 1998. The high-profile Nicola Horlick helped build the firm up, and until recently was its head of equities.

SGAM UK has come under scrutiny after suffering below average performance in its UK equity pooled funds in the first three quarters of last year, which was blamed on a premature bullish stance on the asset class. It has since reshuffled its senior management, with Horlick now focusing on client and management responsibilities, although still managing money, and at the end of 2002 fund performance began to pick up. SGAM UK produced fourth quarter returns of more than 3% above the index.