EUROPE - Nestlé, the Swiss food group, has confirmed the January 1 launch of a new pension advisory unit and a new asset management unit to serve its pension schemes worldwide.

According to Nestlé, the unit will provide actuarial and other related services to the schemes. The unit, called Nestlé Capital Advisors (NCA), will be based at Nestlé's headquarters in Vevey.

Nestlé is also setting up a new asset management unit based in London . Called Nestlé Capital Management (NCM), the unit will provide cross-border investment and advisory services to the plans. The schemes hold CHF25bn (€15.7bn) in assets and insure 60% of Nestlé's total staff of 250,000.

Nestlé is transferring 15 investment professionals from its Swiss and pension funds to NCM, which is to be regulated by the 's Financial Services Authority.

Nestlé also said Jean-Pierre Steiner, director of corporate pension and risk services, would gain the additional role of chief executive for NCA and NCM. Steiner first announced the creation of the units during an IPE-Symposium last June.

Nestlé insisted, however, that the launch of NCA and NCM was not a first step toward centralising its pension schemes. "Each individual Nestlé pension fund will continue to be under the responsibility of the local trustee board," it said.

"The new shared-services approach to group pension fund management aims to lower costs and boost net asset performance while strengthening Nestlé's overview of group pension assets," it added.

A Nestlé spokesman also told IPE from Vevey that the move would entail no job cuts at the pension schemes.