EUROPE - USSIM, the investment management subsidiary of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), has provided £100m (€123m) of 25-year inflation-linked financing to South East Water Finance via the private placement of an index-linked note.

Gavin Merchant, senior investment manager for infrastructure at USS, said his team had spent a "significant" amount of time building strong relationships with a select number of core UK infrastructure companies.

"Our approach is very much focused on forming long-term partnerships where we can provide flexible financing," he said.

"We identified South East Water as a well-run company, with strong management and are delighted we could arrange an attractive financing package for the company and execute in a short period of time."

Meanwhile, the Merseyside Pension Fund has appointed Northern Trust to provide global custody, investment accounting, securities lending and commission recapture services for approximately £4.5bn in pension fund assets.

The local authority pension fund said it selected Northern Trust due to its asset servicing reporting capabilities.

Peter Wallach, head of the Merseyside Pension Fund, added that Northern Trust had the ability to provide a single platform for reporting and managing all of the scheme's assets.

In other news, the Associated British Foods pension scheme has appointed AllianceBernstein as its default fund provider as part of the scheme's review in preparation for auto-enrolment.

"Flexible target-date funds are seen as a significant improvement over the typical lifestyle strategy currently employed in the UK defined contribution (DC) market," the scheme said.

"The AllianceBernstein open-architecture solution allows plan sponsors and trustees to select the best investment funds available, while keeping within a robust governance framework, which is simple for members to understand."

Lastly, AEGON Asset Management has selected MSCI to provide environmental, social and governance (ESG) research, ratings and screening tools to help the asset manager integrate ESG factors into its investment analysis and decision-making.