UK - The London Borough of Hounslow has appointed Capita Hartshead to administer its £393m (€454.9m) pension fund and provide advice on scheme regulations.

Hounslow tendered the 10-year contract for third-party administration services in February 2008, as it was looking for a provider to deliver a full range of pension administration services including dealing with transfers, retirements, end of year processing, and annual benefit statements. (See earlier IPE article: Lighthouse authority seeks actuarial help for new scheme)

Councillor John Todd, chair of the Hounslow pension fund panel, confirmed it had appointed Capita Hartshead to the role following a comprehensive tendering process as the firm demonstrated "the key skills needed to enable high quality delivery of pension administration for the Hounslow pension fund".

He added the council was "very impressed with the breadth of services they could offer us in terms of administration systems, communication with our members, reporting standards and deliverables".

Figures from the draft annual accounts for 2008/09 showed the pension fund dropped more than £60m in value over the year from £461m to £392.9m, as the net return on investments was a loss of £71.97m.

At the end of March 2009, the pension fund had £213m invested in equities, £46m in fixed interest, £86m in unit trusts and £20m in UK property, while just over £7m is invested in private equity and the remainder in short-term deposits.

However, Hounslow pension fund, which had a total of 15,777 pensioners at the end of the financial year, only employed two external managers, with Aberdeen Asset Managers running 38% of the assets and BlackRock Investment Management taking responsibility for 54% of the fund with the rest managed in-house by the council.

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