UK - Partners Group, the Swiss-based global alternative asset manager with over CHF25bn (€16.8bn) in assets under management, has been chosen to manage Avon Pension Fund's overseas real estate portfolio.

The decision took place in September, after the Avon Pension Fund Committee commissioned business advisors, KPMG, to provide the fund's officers with taxation advice for investments in overseas properties.

Subsequent discussions led Avon to choosing between Partners Group and ING Select as a manager of its overseas property portfolio.

Liz Feinstein, investments manager for Avon Pension Fund, said: "We went through a tender process and it was the decision of the committee. They (Partners Group) were chosen for their all-round experience in managing global property."

ING Select and Partners Group presented a workshop on overseas portfolio on 10 June 2008 and both firms proposed the pension fund use a private account investment solution, while ING Select also proposed a global pooled property fund.

The Committee eventually favoured the private account investment structure as it gave the fund greater control over the investment process and total equity of £87.7m (€111m) has now been allocated for investments in property, of which £44.9m will be committed to property overseas.

The monies are currently being invested by Barclays Global Investors on a passive basis.

Partners Group, who has offices in Switzerland, London, Luxembourg, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Beiging, Singapore and Sydney, will look to invest in property worldwide.

"They are looking to invest in Europe, the Americas and Asia and they will be advising us on where they think the best returns for property will be," said Feinstein. 

Avon Pension Fund is not expected to begin investing until 2009 and said the time period for the investment process will depend on the conditions in the market.

Its overseas property portfolio will be made up of broadly diversified property types.

As at 31 July 2008, the fund's property portfolio asset allocation was 37% equities, 23% bonds and 40% cash.

Avon Pension Fund is administered by Bath and North East Somerset Council and has over 60,000 members, making it the seventh-largest local authority fund in the UK.