China’s multi-billion dollar national social security fund signed agreements with Northern Trust and Citigroup to act as trustees for its foreign investments.

This is the first institutional retirement fund in China to invest overseas. Northern Trust and Citigroup were the first custodians appointed to administer the fund’s overseas investments at an official signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday.

Northern Trust said it was selected to provide global custody, investment mandate compliance monitoring and performance measurement services to the fund.

The national social security fund was established in September 2000 to supplement anticipated shortfalls in national and provincial pension programs in China. The fund was one of the first institutional funds in China to receive Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor status from the Chinese state council in 2004 that allowed it to invest in overseas equities markets with designated foreign currencies.

Northern Trust has been working with the fund since 2002 on a consulting basis providing advice on setting up an internal infrastructure to support its overseas investment programs. Northern Trust had $640 billion of assets under management on June 30.

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