UK - The 652 million-pound (979.8 million-euro) Somerset County Council Pension Fund has selected Standard Life Investments to manage a segregated specialist UK equity portfolio valued at around 175 million pounds.

The subsidiary of Standard Life said the appointment followed “a comprehensive tendering and evaluation process involving a number of investment houses” and was expected to take effect from June 2004.

Jonathan Cobb, investment director of UK equities, will run the brief, targeted to outperform the FTSE All-Share index.

Somerset County Council’s pension official Anton Sweet was not immediately available for comment.

“We now run over one billion pounds for UK local authority pension funds almost 400 million pounds euros of which is in UK equities via segregated accounts,” said Standard Life’s Chris Morawiecki, investment director of UK local authorities.

Standard Life Investments, which has 86.5 billion pounds in assets under management, is to avoid a 1,000-job cull at parent company Standard Life.