UK - The £4.3bn (€5.4bn) Merseyside pension fund is seeking a pensions administration and pension payroll provider to update its computer systems.

Merseyside, which had a funding level of 80% at its last actuarial valuation in March 2007, revealed the scheme is looking to award a five-year contract, valued at around £650,000, to what the Wirral Council considers to be the "best value solution".

Wirral Council, which is the unitary authority responsible for the Merseyside local government pension scheme (LGPS), admitted the current IT system supporting the administration of pensions is more than seven years old.

As a result, it is seeking a provider to supply and maintain an integrated pensions administration and pensioner payroll system, although the contract could also include "system migration services" from the existing IT system to the new facilities.

In addition, Wirral Council highlighted the new system should allow the administration of both the historic and future regulatory frameworks for the local government and fire fighter pension schemes - following the recent introduction of the new-look LGPS in April 2008.

The council has also stated the new systems proposed by the successful applicant should allow secure service access over the internet for both members wishing to access their statements and benefit forecasts online and for staff at participating employer organisations to update member details.

Merseyside Pension Fund and Wirral council are currently being lobbied by trade unions, members and local councillors to allow the more than 100,000 members of the scheme to vote on whether it should adopt an ethical investment policy, particularly against munitions such as cluster bombs.

In July, Liverpool City Council - one of the five Merseyside local authorities participating in the fund - voted unanimously in favour of a motion to put pressure on the pension fund and Wirral Council to allow a member vote. (See earlier articles: Liverpool pushes again for Merseyside ethical policy and Analysis: Do members care where the money comes from?)

The deadline for applications for the administration contract is 15 October 2008.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email