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Lancashire, LPFA partnership to reach crunch point with July meetings

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A final decision over the proposed Lancashire and London local government pension scheme (LGPS) partnership will be made in less than four weeks when the boards assess final proposals.

The governing boards for the Lancashire County Pension Fund and the London Pension Fund Authority will sit simultaneously on 2 July and decide whether to push ahead with the so-called ‘asset-liability partnership’.

Both boards are separately weighing legal advice on the partnership’s creation and briefings on the progress of the proposed collective investment vehicle expected to manage around £10bn (€13.7bn) in assets.

However, a joint report will be submitted for both governing boards’ consideration before they simultaneously, but separately, decide whether to push ahead, IPE understands.

Should the vote pass next month, the newly created investment vehicle, the cornerstone of the partnership in its current form, is likely to start investing by April 2016.

The vehicle would be jointly owned by the two pension schemes but run separately as a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised investment arm.

Legal analysis has also been done to ascertain whether any of the ideas contained within the proposal contravene local government regulations or constitutional requirements.

The schemes have held discussions with central government over whether the proposed partnership would interfere with any plans to amend and consult on the LGPS framework or investment regulations.

Further discussions are expected to take place now the general election is over and the UK returned a Conservative Party majority government.

The pair first announced their intention to partner in December last year, as the £5.3bn Lancashire fund and the £4.9bn LPFA looked to streamline their operations.

The partnership would see the schemes merge investment expertise and liability management – and eventually see administration jointly managed to cut costs.

The LPFA was created by the merger of several legacy pension arrangements stemming from the abolition of the Greater London Authority, and now administers around 20,000 members.

The Lancashire fund provides pensions to 150,000 public sector workers in the North-West English county.

In preparation for the anticipated partnership, Lancashire hired 53 investment consultants to aid its transition to the new collective investment vehicle.

It also created a new management body, directed by George Graham, current council deputy treasurer.

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