North Yorkshire Pension Fund is backing the asset pool being launched by East Riding, boosting the number of participating schemes to six.

The £2.3bn (€3.1bn) fund decided late last week it would join the East Riding, Surrey and Cumbria asset pool – christened Border to Coast Pensions – which, since launching in November, has attracted the support of two further funds.

Gary Fielding, North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director of strategic resources, recommended that the council pension committee support “in principle” the idea of joining the asset pool.

A spokesman for the council confirmed the committee had followed Fielding’s recommendation.

The move comes after the £1.6bn Lincolnshire Pension Fund agreed in early January to join as a founding investor and, as IPE reported in December, the £1.6bn Warwickshire local government pension scheme (LGPS) said it would submit a joint proposal with the other local authorities.

The discussions come ahead of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) initial 19 February deadline for English and Welsh LGPS to lay out proposals for a half dozen asset pools.

Warwickshire has only agreed to back Border to Coast Pensions for the first consultation being conducted by the DCLG, and said it could still join a different pool ahead of the second consultation set to finalise pooling arrangements.

Emerging asset pools

Other collaborations to emerge so far include a so-called Northern Powerhouse pool, named after the UK government’s policy to reinvigorate Northern England, that has seen discussions between England’s largest LGPS, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, West Yorkshire and Merseyside, create a partnership worth an estimated £40bn.

Eight other funds, predominantly in the Midlands, have joined with the West Midlands Pension Fund to pool £35bn in assets, and nine funds worth £19bn are in talks to form a South West England pool.

Talks among eight funds in the South East, including Norfolk Pension Fund, are set to create a £26bn asset pool, and the eight funds in Wales are also expected to submit a joint proposal.

Including the already launched London CIV and the previously announced partnership between the London Pensions Fund Authority and Lancashire County Pension Fund, this would bring the number of pooling vehicles to eight.

Because no other funds have publicly declared their support for the £10bn LPFA/Lancashire partnership, however, it is unclear whether it would gain approval from the DCLG, falling well short of the £25bn asset target imposed.

After the London CIV, which has invested in a number of equity sub-funds on behalf of members, it is the most advanced of the partnerships, last year naming Michael O’Higgins as its chairman

According to figures compiled by the LGPS Scheme Advisory Board, 81 funds have either declared their intention or are close to declaring their intention, leaving only eight schemes yet to decide. 

The South West pool is set to be joined by two further schemes, bringing membership to 11, and Border to Coast Pensions is expected to see membership grow to eight, or £25bn in assets, according to the board.