UK - Northamptonshire County Council has appointed Hymans Robertson to provide actuarial services to the local government pension scheme, following a decision earlier this year to split the contract for investment and actuarial services.

Northamptonshire confirmed in January the £1.1bn (€1.4bn) pension scheme intended to split the joint mandate, currently run by Mercer, as it believed there was a wider investment market it could "tap into" if it issued separate contracts. (See earlier IPE article: Mercer under review at Northants)

After receiving presentations from four providers, including Mercer, Barnett Waddingham and Hewitt, Bacon and Woodrow, Northamptonshire appointed Hymans Robertson to run the £450,000 contract.

Following their appointment, which begins on 1 November 2008 for an initial period of three-years but with the option of a further three year extension, Hymans Robertson is expected to supply the scheme with quarterly funding updates, issue advice related to scheme benefits, complete individual and bulk transfer calculations when necessary and provide triennial scheme valuations.

The last triennial valuation was 31 July 2007 at which point Northamptonshire's £1.1bn scheme had a funding level of 76%, equating to a deficit of £341.1m, and recommended the common employer contribution rate should be 12.7% for the three years beginning April 2008.

Figures from the pension fund's statement of investment principles for 2007 showed the pension fund currently has 69% of its assets invested in equities - split equally between the UK and overseas - while 8% is in property, 5% is in hedge funds and the remaining 18% is in fixed interest.

Most recently, the pension fund appointed Newton Investment Management to run a £200m overseas equity mandate. (See earlier IPE article: Newton picks up Northants overseas win)

In addition, the appointment of the new investment consultant is expected to be announced by the end of the month, after the pension fund committee received presentations from three providers - Mercer, Hymans Robertson and Hewitt Bacon and Woodrow - at the beginning of September.

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