UK - Hermes Fund Managers has outsourced its middle-office investment operations, custody and fund administration to Northern Trust.

The appointment is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2008, subject to contract negotiations, at which point Northern Trust estimates it will be responsible for £23bn (€29.17bn) middle office assets under administration, and £45bn assets under custody services - including those of the BT Pension Scheme.

In addition, Northern Trust confirmed as part of the deal it would support the launch of Hermes' new range of Dublin-based funds by providing trustee, custody, fund accounting and transfer agency services.

Rupert Clarke, chief executive of Hermes, which is wholly-owned by the BT pension scheme, said the firm had appointed Northern Trust from a shortlist of two providers following a "rigorous selection and due diligence process".

"Outsourcing these functions is consistent with our strategy of focusing on growing a specialist investment management business. Building a robust and progressive business platform to support our development is a key part of this," he added.

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