HEERLEN, The Netherlands - The 220 billion guilder ($128 billion) Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP is seeking one or more European bond managers, sources said.
A spokesman at the giant pension fund said fund officials are holding "some exploratory talks with various bond managers (in) Europe to see what the possibilities are," but sources said the talks are much further along than what ABP officials would suggest.
The pension fund for Dutch civil servants employs a regional approach to bonds: J.P. Morgan Investment Management and Goldman, Sachs Asset Management each run U.S. bond portfolios; Goldman also manages a European bond portfolio.
Fund officials also are examining how they will approach European bond markets, on the presumption that European monetary union will occur and differences in yields between core markets will disappear. ABP officials might move further into higher-yielding peripheral European bond markets, sources said.
Honeywell taps NatWest
for indexing, rebalancing
BRACKNELL, England - The 305 million ($470 million) Honeywell Retirement Plan has hired NatWest Investment Management Ltd. to run a 105 million U.K. and overseas equity index portfolio, as well as providing rebalancing for the entire fund.
In the process, the Honeywell fund has consolidated the roles played by INVESCO Asset Management Ltd., London, as previous manager of the indexed portfolio and PanAgora Asset Management Ltd., London, which had the passive rebalancing mandate, said Linda Oxberry, director-financial operations.
PanAgora previously had provided a tactical asset allocation for the fund, but that program was stopped last December because it was unsuccessful, Ms. Oxberry said.
The indexed portfolio is split 60% in a segregated U.K. index fund tracking the Financial Times-Actuaries All-Share portfolio. The remainder is invested in an overseas pooled regional equity portfolio, with one-third in North American stocks, one-third in continental European equities and one-third in Pacific Basin stocks. Two-thirds of the 14 million Pacific Basin piece is invested in Japanese stocks, with one-third in the Pacific Basin ex-Japan.
The passive rebalancing mandate covers the entire fund, and permits a one percentage point variance from the benchmark. The fund's other managers are Baring Asset Management Ltd., which invests 60 million in overseas equities and 40 million in global bonds; Gartmore Pension Fund Managers, with 40 million in U.K. equities; and Newton Investment Management Ltd., with 50 million in U.K. stocks. The managers all are based in London.
Another 10 million is invested in property and cash.
Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Reigate, was the consultant.
Belgian fund hires 2
for Japanese equities
BRUSSELS - The 10 billion Belgian franc ($317 million) Voorzorgskas voor Geneesheren, Tandartsen en Apothekers vzw pension fund hired two managers to run 225 million Belgian francs each ($7.1 million) in Japanese equities portfolios.
The Belgian pension fund for doctors, dentists and pharmacists picked Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., New York, to run a large-cap value Japanese stock portfolio; Gartmore Pension Fund Managers Ltd., London, was hired to run a midcap growth portfolio.
The selections complete a two-year restructuring. Changes included adding international equities, which now make up 40% of assets, and reducing Belgian bonds to 15% of assets from 75%.
Pragma Consulting NV, Brussels, was the consultant.