UK - The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) is seeking a third-party provider to promote and assist the LAPFF's shareholder activism.

The organisation, which has 49 local authority pension schemes as members with assets of around £80bn (€85.7bn), currently employs PIRC as its research and engagement partner.

However as PIRC's contract is due to expire on 1 April 2010, Wolverhampton City Council confirmed it is conducting a "straight re-tender" process for the contract, valued at £1.5m, on behalf of the LAPFF.

The role will require the provider to help the organisation achieve its three principle objectives of: minimising shareholder risk; enhancing shareholder returns; and protecting shareholder rights.

It will also be expected to promote and assist shareholder activism on behalf of the LAPFF to improve company performance and to monitor issues which affect the rights of institutional investors.

Other issues covered by the role include supporting LAPFF on broader themes such as tackling climate change, overseas labour standards and corporate governance failings, while also providing "quality research" to underpin arguments for companies to change policy or position.

The LAPFF is particularly active in the area of corporate governance. In July it put forward a resolution at the Marks & Spencer annual general meeting to appoint an independent chair of the board. This was in response to the decision by M&S to allow Sir Stuart Rose to be re-elected to the combined role of chief executive and chairman, and they received support from 38% of shareholders. (See earlier IPE article: LAPFF fails to pass M&S resolution)

And in April it announced the compilation of a "global focus list" of 15 companies around the world where "poor compensation practice and poor performance in other core corporate governance areas are cause for concern over these companies' abilities to generate sustainable returns in the long-term". Companies named on this list include T Rowe Price, KBC and Tullet Prebon. (See earlier IPE articles: LAPFF targets T.Rowe Price over execs pay and LAPFF tackles KBC over remuneration)

The closing date for tender submissions is 1 December 2009 and further information can be obtained from the corporate procurement department at Wolverhampton City Council.

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