UK - The London Borough of Barnet has appointed Barnett Waddingham as actuarial services provider to its £511.4m (€578.4m) local authority scheme.

Barnet initiated a search for a scheme actuary in July 2008, as its existing contract with Hymans Robertson was scheduled to expire at the end of November. (See earlier IPE article: Barnet seeks scheme actuary)

The London council has confirmed it has awarded the three-year contract to Barnett Waddingham, with the option of a further 12-month extension, after receiving three tender submissions.

In a report to the last meeting of Barnet's pension fund committee in 2008, members were told the "main area of distinction between Barnett Waddingham and the two unsuccessful firms was their model for assessing the funding level of the fund".

The document stated: "Their approach acts to smooth fluctuations in market values and thereby would produce a more stable funding levels and contribution rates over time. The funding model adopted by the other two candidates uses a point in time, for example 31 March 2007, for fund valuation and contribution rate setting; this model tends to produce more volatility in funding levels, based on a potentially false short-term market position, and, therefore, uncertainty over contribution rates".

Barnett Waddingham will take on responsibility for a range of tasks including triennial actuarial valuations of the fund; certification of the contributions payable; certification of individual transfers; and the calculation of information relating to FRS17 requirements.

The contract award follows two earlier actuarial appointments won by Barnett Waddingham in the local authority sector, with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and Nottinghamshire County Council, resulting in a total of 16 local authorities, or one-fifth of the market. (See earlier IPE articles: Falkirk targets passive manager for 'flexibility and Nottingham signs Barnett Waddingham)

Graeme Muir, Partner at Barnett Waddingham said: "We are absolutely delighted with our three new appointments. They build upon our existing client portfolio, demonstrating our reputation as a recognised and respected provider of actuarial and consultancy services within the Local Government Pension Scheme market."

Meanwhile, the latest investment figures for Barnet's pension fund, presented to the council's committee in December 2008, showed the value of the scheme had dropped from £547m at 30 June 2008 to £511.4m at the end of September, while the estimated funding level had slipped to 60% from the formal valuation in March 2007 of 71%.

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