The Kent Pension Fund is considering changes to its emerging markets and private equity portfolios, according to minutes of a pension fund committee meeting held on 26 March 2024.

The pension fund treasury and investment manager James Graham pointed out that since December 2023, market movements had brought global equity investments into balance.

He added that the risk management framework of the scheme had seen the continuation of the new Systematic Equity Protection Model, the last tranche of which would be completed in April 2024.

He pointed out that Mercer had advised a 50% split of emerging market equities between Columbia Threadneedle and Robeco, which would help spread risk.

Following that advice, Kent Pension Fund agreed to invest £200m of its target allocation to emerging markets in the WS ACCESS Emerging Markets Equity Fund via Columbia Threadneedle, and another £200m in the WS ACCESS Emerging Markets Equity Fund via Robeco.

Private Equity

Sangeeta Surana, investments, accounting and pooling manager for the scheme, said the cashflow and commitment analysis indicated that additional private equity commitments were required to maintain alignment with the fund’s target allocation size.

As a result, the scheme agreed to commit $160m to the HarbourVest Global Fund 2024, subject to further supportive advice from its investment consultant.

Barnett Waddingham’s re-appointment

The minutes also noted the re-appointment of Barnett Waddingham as the fund’s actuary for the next six years, following a competitive selection and tendering process.

Nick Buckland, head of the Kent Pension Fund, said: “Barnett Waddingham’s appointment comes at the end of an extensive procurement process, and I would like to thank the team for the hard work to ensure that the fund has this key appointment secured.”

Graeme Muir, partner and head of public sector at Barnett Waddingham, added: “We are very happy to have been re-appointed by the Kent Pension Fund. I have personally worked with Kent for most of my actuarial career, and we have built a unique relationship.”

Muir pointed out that the fund has “grown and evolved over the years” but what remains is Barnett Waddingham’s “commitment to its guiding principles – to always do the right thing by its clients”.

He said: “Kent Pension Fund can be certain of that promise as we start the next part of the journey.”

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