EUROPE - Pension funds responding to an IPE survey have largely given their thumbs-up to consultants as providers of asset allocation.

A fifth of respondents rated consultants' asset allocation skills with a score of nine or 10 out of a possible 10, and 70% awarded them a six or more.

Asset managers fared less well, with only 7.8% awarding them a nine or 10 score for asset allocation on the same scale.

Over 42% of respondents said they undertake their asset allocation with the advice of a consultant. A fifth of the respondents conduct it internally with no other parties involved, while 15.5% determine their own asset allocation with the advice of an asset management company. Only four respondents draft in a fiduciary manager to help with their asset allocation.

A large proportion of respondents - 46.5% - review their strategic asset allocation every year, with 26.5% undertaking this every three years.

Around 62% do not intend to review their strategic asset allocation more frequently on the back of the financial crisis, compared to 13.5% that have decided within the last 12-18 months to review it more frequently and 13.5% that intend to review their asset allocation more frequently in the future.

"We are considering dynamic asset allocation to reflect future funding levels," said a UK scheme.

However, 47.5% of respondents said their investment committees had met more often over the last 12 months. Two European pension funds had appointed an external adviser or independent trustee over the last year, while two others said their main board meets more frequently. One Swiss scheme had appointed a consultant to give a greater level of asset allocation advice.

A total of 46 pension funds with a combined €454.2bn in invested assets took part in the Off the Record survey for IPE magazine's December issue.