UK - The local authority pension scheme for Croydon has hired Aon Hewitt as an adviser on a five-year contract.

The decision to appoint a new adviser was driven by dissatisfaction with the incumbent, Mercer, and central government demands for greater efficiencies.

Nigel Cook, head of pensions and treasury at the £550m (€642m) scheme, told IPE: "We'd had the contract with Mercer for a while. It needed refreshing, and we needed to find out whether we were receiving the best service possible."

He added: "This doesn't signal a change in investment strategy, but we hope we'll get a breath of fresh air from the new adviser. We're hoping they'll bring fresh ideas to the process."

The mandate was awarded 80% on quality, 20% on price.

The scheme plans to sign up a minimum of five other local authority pension schemes under a framework agreement designed to generate fee discounts. 

According to the tender award announcement, the option to participate will be available to "any other local authority in various locations throughout the UK that wish to utilise the agreement throughout the duration of the contract term".

Cook said he was confident the scheme could secure more than the necessary minimum of participants, given the number of expressions of interest to date. 

He pointed to a number of similar framework agreements being set up in the capital.