UK-based Equitable Life Assurance Society has awarded US-based investment management firm BlackRock an an outsourcing deal to provide investment and risk management services for its 400,000 policyholders and group scheme members.

BlackRock said that its objective will be to maximize returns on GBP5.7bn of assets while satisfying Equitable Life’s regulatory solvency ratios. The appointment will become effective in October 2010.

Chris Wiscarson, chief executive of Equitable Life, said: “Maximizing returns on policyholder investments is one of the Society’s three key strategic priorities. Today, we have taken another important step forward by appointing BlackRock, a great new partner by any standard.”

Kristen Dickey, head of BlackRock’s financial institutions group for its global client group, said: “We are proud to work in partnership with Equitable Life. We believe that our experience in sterling fixed income, in asset management for insurance companies, and in risk management will significantly support Equitable Life’s strategy for policyholders.”