EUROPE - The Swedish buffer funds AP1 to AP4 have announced the names of four consultancies to advise on aspects of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

The four funds have appointed Ethix SRI Advisors, GES Investment Services, Northwest & Ethical Investments and Sustainalytics - recently named Best ESG Consultancy/Research House at the IPE/TBLI ESG Awards in London - to work with the AP funds' Ethical Council on investment matters.

A spokesperson for AP3 confirmed the companies should begin work by the end of December or early next year.

Meanwhile, the pension fund for Ireland's Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is searching for an administrator to help its existing defined benefit (DB) pension scheme transition from a final salary to a career average arrangement.

ESB's current scheme is now closed to new entrants, with a defined contribution fund taking its place for any future members, while the existing DB scheme will shift to a career average revalued earnings (CARE) approach as of January 2012.

As part of this change, according to the tender notice, ESB is "looking at options for best practice pension administration to implement this change".

It adds that any applying company should have a full outsourcing system in place to manage member records and be able to deal with all member enquiries, while certain issues will still be addressed by the ESB's in-house pension team.

Applications for the three-year contract, which may be extended for a further two years upon successful completion, should be made by 20 December.

The partially state-owned company's pension scheme has been facing a deficit of €2bn at the end of 2008, with LCP Ireland's Pensions Accounting Briefing 2010 recently estimating the shortfall had since grown to €2.2bn by the end of last year.

Meanwhile, the UK Treasury department has named Towers Watson as the actuarial consultancy to help calculate losses incurred by those affected by the near-collapse of Equitable Life 10 years ago.

The Treasury last month confirmed plans to set up an Equitable Life Payments Scheme, given £1.5bn (€1.8bn) to repay losses to consumers.

Towers Watson will calculate the extent of individual losses by policyholders, based on criteria decided by an independent commission, after being awarded the estimated £1m contract.