The pension fund of the Irish state-owned Telecom Eireann has reassigned Ir£300m ($411m) in mandates. These are very large mandates by local standards which went to two Dublin-based groups, Irish Life Investment Managers and Ulster Bank Investment Managers (UBIM), the money manager operation of the Irish subsidiary of National Westminster group.
The mandates arose because of last year's take-over by the Bank of Ireland of the New Ireland Assurance, which managed assets for the Telecom fund. But as Bank of Ireland Asset Management (BIAM) was already the single largest manager of the Telecom portfolio, the trustees decided to go elsewhere.
UBIM is running a balanced portfolio fund, while the Irish Life brief is to follow its consensus fund management approach on a segregated account basis. Neither manager was able to comment on the awards. According to the latest available Telecom accounts, the fund had assets of Ir£870m.
The New Ireland's $3bn asset management business, of which $850m was related pension fund assets at mid-1997 according to consultants Mercer, is being absorbed by BIAM. Following the acquisition, BIAM pitched for this business to pension fund trustees along with other managers. We retained four or five of these accounts," says Anne Banks of BIAM, but it has lost a number in addition to that of Telecom, including trade union SIPTU.
It is understood that just two staff on the investment management side have joined BIAM, while the others have found jobs elsewhere. Fennell Betson"