EUROPE - Transport for London (TfL), responsible for maintaining the underground network in the UK capital, has reappointed Towers Watson as actuarial consultant for its £5.5bn (€6.2bn) pension fund.

Additionally, the consultancy won out over Mercer after it was appointed the scheme's investment advisor until 2017.

Towers Watson's reappointment as actuarial advisor means the company will assist TfL for a further six years, overseeing the triennial valuations due in 2012 and 2015.

According to its most recent valuation, the scheme has a deficit of £1.2bn, with more than half of assets allocated to an index and liability-tracking mandate maintained by Legal & General.

The remaining mandates are invested in equities, with a small amount allocated to infrastructure.

Stephen Field, head of pensions and fund secretary at TfL, said: "Towers Watson has a strong track record and, in a very competitive marketplace, its commitment to, and thorough understanding of, our fund will guide us through the next phase of strategy."

Transport for London first announced the tender for actuarial consultant in August last year.

Meanwhile, Ireland's National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has been reappointed as manager of the country's National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF).

The appointment comes after the previous, 10-year mandate as part of the scheme's inception expired in early April.

Under the terms of the National Pension Reserve Fund Act, the finance minister, alongside the scheme's commission, is allowed to reappoint the NTMA for terms no longer than five years.

A spokeswoman for Ireland's Department for Finance told IPE: "The minister has reappointed the NTMA as manager with effect from 2 April until 1 April 2015."

As part of a brief compiled for newly appointed minister Michael Noonan, it was noted that the NPRF had explored the possibility of an ethical investment approach.

The brief said: "An interdepartmental committee has examined the question of the ethical investment of the NPRF and prepared a report on a possible approach to introducing such a policy."

As at the end of 2010, €9.5bn of NPRF assets had been used to recapitalise Ireland's banks, with an additional €10bn committed to the recent bailout agreement between the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

However, it was recently confirmed that the €10bn would be drawn down to support four of the country's struggling banks after stress tests revealed further capital demands.