UK – The roughly £22m (€32m) Bic pension fund has appointed multi-manager Investment Solutions to manage its closed defined benefit scheme using liability driven investment strategies.
The move followed a scheme agreement to outsource more of its decisions, and follow a multi- versus traditional investment approach.
The international stationery, lighter and shaver manufacturer appointed Investment Solutions – the asset management arm of the Alexander Forbes Group – following a competitive tendering and selection process.
A spokesperson for Investment Solutions confirmed that it replaced a former manager. However, no names could be mentioned.
“It is a ‘household name’ asset management house,” he told IPE, adding that the incumbent used to manage the fund actively.
Three multi-managers took part in a final beauty parade. Each of the short-listed candidates also underwent very detailed due diligence.
“We were looking for a multi-manager with a proven track record who could help us manage our closed DB liabilities and also a skilled team of investors to assist in achieving superior, risk controlled investment returns,” said a spokesperson for the Bic trustees.
Bic added that Investment Solutions alleviated a significant proportion of decision-making from trustees and increased their exposure to various investment houses.
Investment Solutions told IPE that the shift resulted in a review and restructure of existing briefs. It is also possible that the scheme could invest more in alternatives in a bid to further diversify its investment portfolio.
“I think perhaps they are looking to manage their scheme more diligently than in the past,” said the spokesperson, adding that the fund’s investment decisions are mostly being driven forward by the trustees and the scheme adviser.
A meeting is due to take place between Investment Solutions, trustees and the scheme adviser in September/October where a decision will be made whether to rebalance the investment portfolio or change to a different strategy.
An official from the Bic scheme was unavailable for comment.
In other news, the roughly £1.15bn North Yorkshire pension scheme axed former global custodian JP Morgan in favour of ABN Amro Mellon.
ABN Amro Mellon will provide the 28,000-member scheme with custody, investment accounting and performance measurement services.
It was appointed following a competitive six-month tendering and selection process with the assistance of consultants Thomas Murray.
“ABN Amro Mellon’s extensive accounting and performance reporting suite was a major factor in our decision,” said principal accountant Neil Sellstrom in a statement.
IPE reported in June that JP Morgan had been axed from the scheme after some five years. At the time, the pension fund could not comment on the value of the contract nor which firm would replace JP Morgan.
This was the fourth UK pension fund loss for JP Morgan to emerge in less than a month. It’s also lost out at Royal London Asset Management, the Railway Pension Trustee Co. and the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund.
JP Morgan says it has won £30bn of UK pensions business in the last year, and it has 43% of the top 100 pension funds. There’s been “very strong growth in our franchise” a spokesperson said.