Aon has been appointed as fiduciary manager by Imerys Minerals’ £550m pension fund with nearly 5,900 members, following a competitive tender process.
Aon is already an actuary to the scheme and has provided investment advice for over a decade.
In its new fiduciary management role, Aon will now provide implementation services alongside expert investment advice, including journey planning, to help the scheme trustees to continue to make better decisions.
Edwin Bruce-Gardner, chair of trustees for the pension fund and director at Vidett, provider of professional trustee services, said the scheme had eight investment managers before the appointment of Aon and it “became clear” that the time and resources required to effect a “dynamic” investment policy without an in-house team was “becoming more and more onerous in a world of increasing regulation and investment risk”.
Bruce-Gardner continued: “We therefore required greater investment expertise.” He added that fiduciary management was a natural progression.
He said: “After presentations on different approaches from several fiduciary managers, we decided to stay with Aon, which has successfully advised us for many years and which we considered to be the best fit.”
Bruce-Gardner added: “Aon’s approach is a continuation of the diversified and liquid policy previously adopted by the trustee to meet its investment goals, but with Aon taking over all the day-to-day management decisions. This leaves the trustee with more time to concentrate on other matters.”
He noted that the new approach gives the scheme access to a wide range of investment options, along with the speed and nimbleness to respond quickly to changes in the market conditions and to evolve as the scheme approach full funding.
Maria Johannessen, head of UK investment at Aon, said: “We have worked with the Imerys scheme for over a decade and it’s great news that we can capitalise on the understanding of the scheme’s needs and objectives that we have built up over that time.”
She added that Aon’s aim is to provide more certainty, lessen the decision-making burden and provide better value to the scheme.
Johannessen added: “All this will also ensure continuity and stability for members and allow the scheme to navigate new forms of volatility with confidence.”