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FUND MANAGEMENT NEWS

AGRIBUSINESS FUND COMES ONSHORE
A new onshore Global Agribusiness Fund by First State Investments will aim to deliver low-risk, long-term returns to UK and European investors from a portfolio of between 25 and 75 stocks. It has announced its intention to take advantage of what it sees as “a combination of rising demand and constrained supply of soft commodities”.

The UK fund will be managed from Sydney by the global resources team headed by Renzo Casarotto and Skye Macpherson. It will select stocks from among 400 companies in water, seeds, fertilisers and farming technology.

S&P LAUNCHES NON-US BOND INDEX
While many investors are fleeing the euro, Standard and Poor's has this week launched a new index of investable non-US corporate bonds with 50 per cent exposure to the single currency. The index will contain bonds issued in G10 currencies with no more than half its holdings in any one currency.

A spokesperson for S&P says the index is for investors looking “to protect themselves against the potential threat of a weakening US dollar”. The index is to be made up exclusively of fixed-rate, non-zero coupon bonds, and it does not look at sovereign debt.

PENSIONS LOOK TO REDUCE RISK
A study by the Pension Corporation and Engaged Investor Magazine has found that 73 per cent of pension fund trustees are now prioritising risk-reduction. Funds are taking steps to decrease their exposure to equities as well as pursuing liability-driven investments and buying pension insurance.

Fifty three per cent of those surveyed in the study think funding their deficits is the most important issue with 35 per cent looking at longevity insurance and 45 per cent at a buy-in or buy-out. However, 65 per cent say that the costs of doing this remain a significant problem.