UK- The United Norwest Co-operatives Employees' Pension Fund has handed Baring Asset Management a mandate to manage £23m through its Extended Risk Fund.

Advised by HSBC Actuaries and Consultants, United Norwest has given Barings a remit to target risk and returns through its multi-asset portfolio, but requires its returns to be benchmarked to the consumer price index.

Malcolm Herring, director of the multi-manager business at Barings, said the firm will attempt to earn approximately three-quarters of the return by being underweight and overweight in certain asset classes.

The remaining quarter of assets will be invested in a "best of breed" of funds, as the company believes no single firm can deliver superior returns across all asset classes.
"Additional value will come from the "best of breed" approach and we will pick the best managers within the asset classes," said Herring.

"They are not so concerned about the stock selection risk being all with Barings. We acknowledge no manager can be good in each asset class so we will choose the best managers to meet their targets," he added.

It is unclear how the mandate will be financed as a spokesman at the pension fund was unavailable for comment.

In separate news, Shropshire County Council has appointed London-based Arlington Property Investors to manage a £46m (€67m) European property mandate.

Shropshire County Council's head of finance Graham Chidlow was today unavailable for comment, but he told IPE in December 2006 the then £860m fund would expose 5% of the fund to the European real estate market via a multi-fund strategy or a pan-European fund of funds.