Mellon Trust Europe (MTE) has been appointed global custodian to the £1.5bn ($2.4bn) pension funds managed by Courtaulds Pension Investment Management. Key to the decision process was boutique search consultancy Curt Kohlberg and Associates of Massachusetts.
At Courtaulds the pension asset portfolio is all active and 80 to 90% internally managed", says chief investment officer David Brief. A rigorous custody selection process gives a better chance of making the right decision, particularly as there are pros and cons to combining accounting and custodial services under one roof. "A lot of stuff people were doing laboriously themselves, now with a suite of programs custodians are able to provide - the accounting service, with the same computer entry also recording the accounting entry. Mellon are accountable to get that right; our auditors looked at the service and are pretty happy."
Dan Wywoda, MTE's head of global trust and custody, says: "Our belief is that the pension industry is changing by recognising the incremental services that a global custodian can offer to support a sophisticated fund".
Describing his operation as "a leading search firm for global custody and related services", Curt Kohlberg admitted the name was little known outside the US. However building on the Courtaulds search and also one for a "trust, the biggest charity in the world", he is stepping up activities in the Swiss market and "looking to open an office in London".
Brief says Kohlberg's appointment was a result of three factors: a review of the the whole area of accounting; an awareness that US global custodians had committed to "incredibly expensive" technology , and, "he sent a letter offering a specialist service; we checked out he was well recommended, and he did a good job"."