EUROPE – Mercer Human Resource Consulting has taken over the running of the €2.4bn pension fund of drinks firm Allied Domecq. Allied Domecq’s operations in Bristol were closed following the €7.75bn acquisition of the company by France’s Pernod Ricard last year. All pension staff were made redundant as the department was disbanded. “The team which supports the Pension Fund Trustees will be leaving the company and are replaced by Mercer Human Resource Consulting,” says a web site for pensioners of J. Lyons, which merged into Allied Domecq. Brian Smith, Allied Domecq’s former pensions and international benefits executive, confirmed Mercer’s involvement. The consulting firm took over in March this year. Mercer, which was previously investment adviser to the fund, declined to comment to IPE. Officials at Pernod Ricard were not able to comment. Administration of the fund remains with outsourcing firm ExcellerateHRO, a venture of EDS and Towers Perrin, an ExcellerateHRO said. The fate of the scheme’s investment managers, listed in www.pensionfundsonline.com, is unclear. They included Barclays Global Investors, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, Baring Asset Management, Newton Investment Management, MFS Investment Management and Western Asset Management. Spokespersons for a number of the firms declined to comment. Custodian Northern Trust also declined comment, as did scheme actuary Watson Wyatt. A pension fund deficit of £387m was a factor in the takeover battle, according to reports. Pernod Ricard's debt-funded bid for the company, formerly the second largest global spirits and wine firm, pledged to pay £108m into the scheme over two years to tackle the deficit.