ITALY - The pension fund of Italian banking giant UniCredit has awarded Robeco Asset Management with a €40m (£27m) fixed income quantitative active duration mandate, it appeared today.

It is a new mandate, "which aims to achieve attractive returns in today's climate of low bond yields, low credit spreads and low volatility," Robeco told IPE.

Andrea Bandinu, chief investment officer at the fund, said that Robeco had been chosen from a total of 28 candidates, with the Dutch asset manager proving to have the best investment model, according to Bandinu.

Commenting on the move, he said: "We are changing out asset class view for the bond market a bit, because before we were investing in euro corporate and euro government, but in fact it was so difficult to apply the right strategy on the split between corporate and government at the right time."

Hence the fund decided to change its tactical approach, as "pension fund timing is quite different from the market timing," Bandinu told IPE.

The fund also plans to make changes to the alternatives side within the next two months: "We want to reduce the fund of hedge funds exposure."

Robeco commenced the mandate last November; the fund did not use a consultant in the process.