Aviva Investors, the fund management arm of the UK insurer, plans to cut around 12 percent of its global workforce in 2012, scaling back active equities management in Britain in response to poor demand for riskier assets during the economic downturn.

London will suffer the bulk of the cuts, expected to amount to around 160 jobs in total, following the elimination of teams focused on European, emerging markets and global equities as well as a sustainable responsible investments (SRI) desk.

The firm will focus on core operations in fixed income, real estate and multi-asset investment, it said.

Greater focus in core areas of strength would improve profitability and enable Aviva Investors to continue to invest in the development of its global infrastructure, Aviva said.

Aviva plans to retain its indexing and quantitative investment capabilities and keep one active portfolio management operation in each of its main markets.

The proposed staffing cuts follow the conclusion of a business review led by CEO Alain Dromer and are subject to a period of consultation.

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott and Sinead Cruise)