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Lancashire awards custody amid wider revamp

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UK - The 2.4 billion-pound (3.56 billion-euro) Lancashire County Council Pension Fund says it will appoint ABN Amro Mellon as its custodian.

Mark Bennett, principal accountant at the Preston-based scheme, said the appointment would be on July 1.

The move, part of a wider scheme revamp, will see the fund consolidate several custody providers. According to ‘International Pension Funds and their Advisors’, the scheme’s custodians include Citibank, HSBC, Legal & General, J P Morgan Investor Services, Deutsche Bank and the Bank of New York.

ABN Amro Mellon spokeswoman Beth Dowling declined to comment.

Bennett added that the scheme plans to switch from a balanced strategy to a specialist investment strategy with the re-tendering its UK equities and bonds briefs worth a total 960 million pounds.

Schroders Plc and Deutsche Asset Management currently manage equal shares of the 600 million-pound equities and 360 million-pound bonds mandates.

The two managers would be “allowed” to re-apply for the specialist mandates, explained the Preston-based fund’s principal accountant Mark Bennett. He added: “We want them to re-apply.”

“We are reviewing the structure of the fund and the fund has decided for a specialist form of management as opposed to balanced,” Bennett said.

Spokespersons for both Schroders and DeAM declined to comment.

None of the briefs covering the remaining asset allocations will be subject to re-tender, Bennett said.

The fund has invested in 550 million pounds in a global equities mandate, currently managed by Newton Investment Management, part of Mellon Financial Corp.

Legal & General Group manages 25% of the fund, invested in an index-tracking portfolio.

The property portfolio, managed by real estate firm Knight Frank, accounts for six per cent of the fund. Westport Private Equity runs the three percent in private equity.

The fund is expected to appoint the new managers by early December.

The scheme was advised by Mercer.

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