UK - Hymans Robertson has replaced P-Solve Asset Management as investment consultants for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's pension fund.

The council initiated a search for a provider of a comprehensive investment consultant service in October 2007, as it had employed P-Solve since 2002 and the contract was due to be market-tested. (See earlier IPE article: Kensington and Chelsea seeks consultant)

Following the tender period Kensington & Chelsea received submissions from Hewitt and Hymans Robertson and awarded the latter firm the role on its performance against a range of criteria including previous track record, the ability to communicate complex issues and price.

Hymans Robertson took over from P-Solve on 1 April 2008, although the council has only now officially confirmed the appointment after it agreed the final contract with the investment consultant.

The contract is expected to last for an initial period of four years, with the option to extend it for a further four, and responsibilities include setting the investment strategy and the investment manager structure for the pension fund, appointing investment mangers and custodians, and monitoring manager performance.

Since its appointment in March, Hymans Robertson  advised the council's investment committee of the benefits of altering the fund's asset allocation to 80% equities and 20% bonds, while the committee is currently considering a range of other investment issues highlighted by the consultant, such as:

Active and passive management of the equity portfolio UK/Global allocation of equity portfolio in relation to active and passive management Use of alternative asset classes New benchmarks for asset classes

Meanwhile the council is continuing in its search for a global custodian for the £409.6m (€457.9m) pension fund, ahead of the expiry of its existing contract with HSBC in mid-2009. (See earlier IPE article: Kensington seeks custodian and increases equities)

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