Derbyshire scheme consolidates custody

The £1.45bn (€2.08bn) Derbyshire County Council pension fund has consolidated the custody of its four portfolios under ABN Amro Mellon after UBS Global Asset Management gave up custody of one of them.

From March 24 ABN Amro Mellon will provide custody and cash management services for European and UK equities and European bonds. It has had custody of the scheme’s US portfolio since 2001.

UBS, which acted as manager and custodian of the European equity portfolio, withdrew from the custody business last September.

“An open tender was issued, with the shortlist including two other global custodians,” ABN Amro Mellon said in a statement.

“Based on ABN Amro Mellon’s RFP and its quality of service and client relationship management to date for Derbyshire’s US portfolio, ABN Amro Mellon was awarded the full mandate,” it added.

Councillor Geoff Carlile, chairman of Derbyshire County Council’s investment committee, said: “We’re confident that our future work together will be equally successful and look forward to receiving the same quality of service on the rest of our portfolio.”

According to the business plan 2004/2005 published today by the investment committee, the fund invests in UK and international bonds as well as UK, Japanese, Asia Pacific and emerging markets equities through its in-house management team.

UBS is charge of European equities, while Wellington Management International deals with North American equities in a “discretionary capacity”.

Derbyshire told IPE that it acted as its own custodian for UK equities, gilts, index-linked and investment trusts through CREST. It also said that overseas bonds were held by the Bank of England, while US bonds were managed in-house.

It also said that no asset management changes are planned in the immediate future. The fund currently allocates 44.5% to UK equities, 26.9% to overseas equities, 13.8% to bonds, 3.9% to index-linked gilts, 4.9% to property and six percent to cash.

UBS Global Asset Management spokesperson Charles Gorman said the decision to give up custody of the portfolio was not specific to the Derbyshire pension fund but reflected the UK pension industry’s trend to adopt global custody.