More schemes to join Unilever’s FCP fund

GLOBAL - Anglo-Dutch household goods giant Unilever says more of its global pension funds will join its FCP fund, including its first defined contribution (DC) plan at the end of June.

Unilever launched the FCP (Fonds Commune de Placement), a Luxembourg-based multi-country pension pooling vehicle, at the end of 2005 as a way of simplifying its multinational pension schemes worldwide, rather than launch a single European pension plan.

"We believe a single European pension plan is a long way off," said Angela Docherty, senior investment consultant at Unilever, speaking at the Employee Benefits conference in London today.

So far, €3.9bn of the total €19.6bn of pension assets around the world are invested in the FCP, which is divided into six regional equity sub-funds for Europe (ex-UK), UK, US, Pacific (ex-Japan), Japan and the emerging markets.

"There is an historic equity bias to our investment strategy," explained Docherty.

Around 13 Unilever pension funds are currently invested "and more are to invest shortly," while the first DC plan will invest at the end of June she added, though declining to comment on which pension funds these are.

Docherty noted there are difficulties in dealing with regulatory and tax issues of various jurisdictions when trying to establish whether to permit other funds to invest in the FCP.

Unilever has tapped Northern Trust as management company, while Mercer is acting as the multinational's consultant.

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