UK - The £500m (€637m) UK pension fund for Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has appointed Mercer as its fiduciary manager.

Andreas Brabeck, chair of the investment sub-committee at the Roche scheme, noted that the fiduciary appointment would increase its ability to react to investment opportunities. 

"It will allow us to diversify our growth portfolio far more than we have been able to in the past," Brabeck said, adding that it would also allow the fund to make the best use of any active management opportunities.

Roche joins a number of European pension funds in awarding Mercer a fiduciary mandate, with the consultancy currently overseeing $18bn (€15bn) worth of continental assets, with $58bn in assets under management worldwide.

Meanwhile, the University of Leeds has launched a search for a defined contribution provider for its pension arrangement, with the contract running as long as 30 years.

Upon award, the contract would run for an initial term of five years, with five further renewals possible if the institution is satisfied. 

Interested parties have until 29 August to apply.

The university currently splits its pension provision over the Universities Superannuation Scheme for academic staff, as well as the £263m University of Leeds Pension and Assurance Scheme, a defined benefit arrangement for non-academic support staff into which full-time employees are automatically enrolled.

The tender said the new DC scheme would instead be offered to any new support staff from the beginning of next year, with any existing staff currently not saving in one of its schemes also permitted to join.

Lastly, the local authority pension fund for Essex has replaced its existing custodian BNY Mellon.

The scheme, which at the end of March 2011 had £3.3bn in assets under management, has instead appointed Northern Trust after a tender launched last year.