Devon County Council Pension Fund has appointed Northern Trust for a global custody and securities lending mandate for the fund’s £3bn (€3.73bn) in assets.

The appointment was made using the National LGPS Global Custodian Framework, Northern Trust said. 

Mark Gayler, assistant county treasurer at Devon County Council, said: “Northern Trust’s ability to provide high-quality tailored solutions to meet our specific requirements, combined with their leading expertise across the local government pension scheme sector, were key factors in their appointment.”

On top of this, he said the custodian’s strong securities lending capabilities supported the pension fund’s aim of maximising its investment portfolio.

Robert Frazer, head of Northern Trust’s institutional investor group for the US, said pension funds were increasingly looking for guidance, particularly with discussions that were now taking place about consolidation and boosting efficiency.

Meanwhile, consultancy Inalytics said it has been appointed by four UK local authority pension funds, including the Cumbria and Warwickshire county council pension funds, to help them understand the level of fund managers’ investment skill.

Mathew Dawson, acting treasury and pensions group manager at the Warwickshire pension fund, said the fund had chosen Inalytics’ service because it could show what was really behind a manager’s performance.  

“Whilst our active equity managers are both performing very well, demonstrating manager skill beyond the relative benchmark will provide clear evidence to the investment sub-committee,” he said.

In other news, the London & Quadrant Housing Trust Staff Benefits Plan has put out an EU tender for pension administration and investment advisory services.

The trustees of the affordable housing charity pension scheme are looking for a firm to provide pension administration, investment advice and actuarial support services for the pension plan, which has both defined benefit and defined contribution sections.

The contract will potentially be for five years, including an initial three-year period, plus two one-year extensions.

The 1,550-member scheme said it envisaged inviting between five and eight providers to tender or participate.

Applicants will be asked to give details of technical ability, processes for ensuring quality and capacity.

The applicant must also act as the scheme actuary, the pension fund said.

The deadline for tenders is 22 July.