GLOBAL - Pension consulting and human resources firm Hewitt Associates has delayed its third-quarter earnings announcement.

The move follows a set of announcements in June. These included the departure of chairman and chief executive Dale Gifford and top HR executive Bryan Doyle as well as a review of its earnings guidance.

The results announcement has been put back to August 14, the Illinois-based company said late yesterday.

It said the delay was to "allow for completion of the previously announced review of its human resources business process outsourcing contract portfolio, as well as other accounting and tax items".

It will hold a call to discuss its results and current business outlook on that date.

The latest development comes amid what one US asset management executive characterised as "turmoil" within the consultant community.

Rivals Mercer and Aon have reported declines in consulting income.

"While the benefits outsourcing and consulting businesses continue to perform well, the company is reviewing its guidance for the third quarter and full fiscal year 2006 in connection with a review of its HR BPO [business process outsourcing] contract portfolio," Hewitt said in June.

In May it said its consulting income slipped by 12% to $49m (€38.8m) in the second quarter - due to higher staff pay.