UK - The Northern Lighthouse Board is seeking a provider of actuarial services to help support its existing pension scheme and establish a new scheme.

The Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouse Board, acting on behalf of the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) of UK and Ireland, is tendering a four-year contract for the provision of services to its existing pension arrangements, with the option for the contract to be extended by another four years.

In addition, it is looking for a firm to provide support for new pension provision powers, which the GLA intends to use to establish a new funded scheme, the contract on this one expected to last a maximum of eight years.

The 2006/07 annual report from the General Lighthouse Fund, which provides the funding for the three UK GLAs, revealed at the end of March 2007 the Fund's pension scheme had a substantial deficit of £348m (€461m).

Although the Department for Transport (DfT) has provided the pension scheme with a "letter of comfort", which is considered to provide security to the members of the scheme by agreeing to underwrite the investment and longevity risks of the scheme,  the management of the General Lighthouse Fund confirmed this is only a fall-back position and the scheme deficit should be paid from the general fund.

The management commissioned a study as a result, to consider the establishment of a new funded pension scheme open to new members, the aim being the pension liabilities would over time be transferred from the General Lighthouse Fund to the new separate pension scheme.

Following this study, the GLA is now tendering the contract for actuarial services, which will be subject to Scottish law and the jurisdiction of Scottish courts, and will close to applicants at 2pm on March 26 2008.

The General Lighthhouse Fund is not just a pension fund, but funds everything related to the GLA.

Elsewhere, the London Borough of Hounslow is offering a 10-year contract for the provision of third-party administration services for its Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

The tender requires the successful applicant to provide a full range of pension administration services - including dealing with starters, leavers, transfers, retirements, deaths, end of year processing, and annual benefit statements - for all members of the scheme.

Applications for the tender, valued at between £3-3.96m, will close at 12pm on March 27 2008.

Hounslow currently has 5,500 active members, 5,000 deferred members and 4,500 pensioners, and net assets totalling £451m, to March 31 2007.

Meanwhile, the London Borough of Barnet is tendering for an independent pension fund adviser to provide advice to the pension fund committee and council officers on a number of areas, including investment strategy, strategic asset allocation, investment principles, funding strategy, governance, as well as the appointment and monitoring of investment managers.

The £540m scheme currently receives investment advice from Paul Oldham, chairman of the board of directors at Reliance Mutual, but the fund said it is looking to appoint "either an individual or a company that has a number of years experience of advising local government and institutional pension funds".

It is offering a three-year contract, valued at between £90,000 and £210,000, and the deadline for applications is 12pm on April 2 2008.

The scheme's current asset allocation consists of around 10% internally managed investments in unit property trusts, and 5% in cash while the remaining fund is split between three balanced fund managers, with 43% allocated to Schroder Investment Management, 31% to Newton and 11% to Midas.

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