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Mandate roundup: Lothian, Portcullis, Healthcare Foundation, Northern Trust

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  • Mandate roundup: Lothian, Portcullis, Healthcare Foundation, Northern Trust

UK - Lothian Pension Fund, the £3.5bn (€4bn) Scottish local government scheme for Edinburgh Council, is looking to reduce its exposure to global equities and tendering for three new asset managers for the asset class.

As part of the search, a further seven managers will be chosen to enter a framework agreement with the fund, with the remaining three awarded mandates between £100m and £200m each.

Franklin Templeton, Lazard and Legal & General currently manage a global equity portfolio worth more than £700m - the scheme stressed that the current managers would be considered for reappointment.

Explaining the £200m reduction in the portfolio's size, portfolio manager Stewart Piotrowicz said Lothian's strategic asset allocation envisaged a 60% exposure to equity overall, while in March it stood at more than 68%.

He said that while the £500m size of the mandate was lower than the current exposure, funds could be diverted to a different asset class, with an opportunistic investment considered.

"That would be through pooled funds, and, therefore, we wouldn't go through the tender process," he said.

"Ultimately, there is a plan to reduce the equity exposure, and that is more from the basis that we are looking to increase the exposure to alternative asset classes."

Lothian currently invests in a number of alternatives, ranging from a 0.3% exposure to gold, as well as £800,000 in timber and agriculture and holdings in infrastructure and European real estate.

As of March this year, it had invested more than one-quarter of its funds in alternatives.

The scheme recently announced Baillie Gifford would be retained as Asia Pacific equity manager, sharing responsibility with Invesco Perpetual.

Parties interested in the global equity mandate should answer a pre-qualification questionnaire by 2 September, with a decision expected early next year.

Meanwhile, the Portcullis Pension Plan - which provides for UK parliamentary employees, but not MPs - has tendered a mandate for pension fund consultancy services.

The House of Commons hopes to attract interest from at least five providers that will also be asked to monitor default fund choices and other investment fund options on a regular basis.

Parties have until 19 August to register their interest.

Finally, the Health Foundation has appointed Northern Trust to provide custody and related services for £710m in charity assets.

Daniel Thorndyke of the Health Foundation said it chose Northern Trust because of its long track record in asset servicing and its focus on charities.

Northern Trust will be tasked with providing critical asset servicing solutions, which the Health Foundation said would allow it to focus on improving the quality of healthcare in the UK.

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