UK – The traditional balanced mandate appears to be making a return, albeit under a new guise, according to investment consultants and asset managers.

“The balanced fund is making a comeback,” said F&C head of strategy Paul Niven. But he pointed out that equities and bonds formed a smaller part of the portfolios now as more asset classes available.

Referring to the return of the ‘multi-asset brief’, Hewitt consultant Kerrin Rosenberg said: “There’s a revolution going on in the pension fund industry in the way assets are invested.”

“I can see a lot off pension funds heading that way – full delegation to the fund manager. Give it to the experts.”

But he said the new multi-asset mandate differed from the old balanced approach in that the investment objective must relate to scheme liabilities. “I think this is going to be an enormous growth area,” he told a briefing organised by Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.

F&C’s chief investment officer, Tony Broccardo, said there is now a lot of demand from pension fund clients for such “asset allocation” skills. “There are more asset decisions to be made these days.”

“There’s a lot of interest in hearing about the new balanced concept,” he told a briefing. He cited the asset allocation skills of UK asset managers.