City agencies in fight for French pensionscontract

PARIS: Five City firms are battling it out to handle PR for the manager of more than £12.9bn of French state pension assets.

Fonds de Reserve pour les Retraites (FRR) is believed to have shortlisted the five agencies for advice on comms in the Anglo-Saxon financial world.

In the last year, FRR has rapidly expanded its portfolio into the international financial markets, an arena dominated by UK and US financial institutions and media.

The fund awarded its first mandates to more than ten asset managers last year. For example, State Street Global Advisers, the world's largest institutional fund manager, is responsible for managing and hedging currency risk for the non-euro portion of the fund. But FRR still has £4.7bn to invest in the financial markets.

In June, FRR began staging a pitch for socially responsible investment worth £408m of mandates and will issue a separate private equity tender before the end of the year.

FRR declined to comment, but a source said its executive board would appoint an agency later this month.

The appointment will follow that of French corporate marcoms agency Euro RSCG C&O. The agency has been working on a redesign of FRR's logo and publications, and advising on comms strategy since the spring.

FRR is also looking for an agency for advice on the redesign of its website.

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