UK - The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is to begin looking for a new investment consultant for its £432m (€512m) pension fund, to be appointed early next year.

The council currently employs P-Solve as the pension fund's investment adviser, however the existing contract is due to expire on 31 July 2009, so to ensure the successful applicant is in place for 1 August 2009 the tender process will begin in February 2009.

It is proposed the new contract will last for an initial period of four years, and it is expected to be valued at £180,000, which means the position must be advertised through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as it is above the cost threshold of £139,893.

A report scheduled to be presented to Hammersmith & Fulham's pension fund investment panel next week suggested the contract should be awarded based on performance against certain criteria such as local authority experience and the experience and availability of key personnel.

The details of the evaluation criteria have not yet to be finalised, however the tender process will begin with the publication of the notice in the OJEU in February, with the deadline for submissions scheduled for March, while the final decision to be made in June 2009.

Meanwhile, figures from the third quarter investment report showed the value of the pension fund dropped from £466m to £432m in three months, as the fund returned -3% slightly below the benchmark return of -2.6%.

However, the investment report noted the negative return was a result of the poor performance of equities over the quarter, as the fund currently has 25% in fixed income and 75% in equities and a dynamic asset allocation strategy, although earlier this year Hammersmith & Fulham agreed to implement a "matching fund" as part of its liability driven investment strategy. (See earlier IPE article: Hammersmith and North Yorks take opposing LDI positions)

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