Stockholm-based Stiftelsen för Strategisk Forskning, the Skr10bn publicly funded Swedish research foundation for natural sciences and medicine, has dropped its international balanced investment philosophy, removing Mercury Asset Management and Phillips & Drew from Skr1bn (Ecu106m) briefs and severly depleting a Skr1bn international brief for Schroders.

Björn Brandt, director of administration at the foundation, says the move reflects a change in research liabilities for 1999.

We have decided to bring back the interest-bearing portion of our international assets to managers in Sweden because we have Skr1bn of social commitments on next year's agenda and the same in 2000. We have also transferred from a global balanced mandate strategy to specialist international equity briefs."

Consequently, Barclays Global Investors has scooped a Skr200m US equities brief, Gartmore will manage European equities ex Sweden to the tune of Skr400m and Schroders and Martin Currie will each have Skr100m of Japanese equities to run.

Consultant to the tender was Copenhagen-based Alcifor Advisory Associates.

The incumbent Swedish managers, which will pick up around Skr9bn in equal portions to run on a balanced basis are Handelsbanken, SEB (formerly SE Banken) and Kammerkollegiet.

SEB will also run a Skr2bn'liquidity' fund being set up by the foundation to invest the money it is scheduled to pay over the next two years. Hugh Wheelan"