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Courtauld searches for balance

The £1.3bn (e1.9bn) Courtaulds pension scheme in the UK, now under the umbrella of the Dutch Akzo Nobel chemical group, has resisted any temptation to go specialist and stuck with the balanced route for its first fund outsourcing, selecting Morgan Grenfell and Schroders to manage £600m each in assets.
Previously managed in-house by notable fund managers including Alistair Ross-Goobey and David Brief (now at Hermes and Lucas Varity respectively), the fund began tendering after Courtaulds was bought out by Akzo Nobel.
Ian Harrison, company secretary at Courtaulds, says: We always had an excellent in-house record here through balanced management and the flexiblity to switch slightly between asset classes. We hope our best chance of preserving this record is to appoint external managers along the same balanced lines. Morgan Grenfell and Schroders were on a five-manager shortlist from a long list of 20, which could do the full balanced service in fixed-interest and equities, and they fitted the bill for us on the day in terms of past performance and management style."
Custody for the funds will continue to be carried out by Mellon Bank, although Harrison says the Akzo Nobel group is considering bringing its custody under a single provider.
Watson Wyatt advised on the initial part of the tender process."

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