UK- The Employers’ Organisation for local government and Barclays Global Investors (BGI) are running a series of seminars for elected members responsible for the Local Government Pension Scheme, the body that represents more than one million members of local authority pension funds worth a combined £90bn (e143bn).

The seminars have been designed to address recommendations made in last year’s Myners review. Tim Hazlewood, training and development manager at the Local Government Pensions Committee, part of the Employers’ Organisation for local government, explains:

“The comments made on trustee education in the Myners review are particularly important for local government pension funds. On top of problems such as volatile markets and an ageing population, these schemes have to consider funding and the relative costs to the taxpayer.

“Investment panels have to look to innovative solutions to improve returns, and the investment knowledge of the individuals on the panels is crucial in the decision making process,” he says.

The course is a series of three one-day seminars to be held in Edinburgh, Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham and London. It includes presentations on the benefit structure of the pension scheme, the statutory responsibilities of “trustees”, and also considers the history and future of the scheme.

Investment content across the courses includes: equity portfolio management styles and strategies, modern portfolio theory, performance measurement, risk measurement, credit risk, and derivatives.

In addition, BGI is running more advanced courses at their offices in London, aimed at both elected members and those staff involved in investment issues.

Andrew Wealls, head of the local government client team at BGI, said: “local government pension schemes face numerous challenges and opportunities. Increasing demands on local government budgets, are balanced against the need to fund employees’ retirement.

“It is important to create a framework to allow those managing pension funds for local government to get exposure to a range of investment concepts, issues and solutions.”

Further information is available from either Andrew Wealls or Guy Austin at BGI.