UK - The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is seeking an actuarial and investment consultant and a legal adviser to provide services in relation to all the pension arrangements which comes under its remit.

Figures from the NDA's annual report for 2007/08 showed the organisation, which is responsible for the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK's civil public sector nuclear sites, is involved in five defined benefit (DB) pension schemes.

Its workers receive pension benefits from the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS), though under guidance issued by HM Treasury this is considered as a defined contribution (DC) scheme as the total contributions paid by the NDA in 2007/08 was £3.9m.

The organisation is the lead employer in four other DB schemes: the Direct Rail Services section of the British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) Group Pension scheme; the UK Nirex pension scheme, the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (New Section) and the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund.

The overall total liability for the four schemes was £10.6m at 31 March 2008, with the Merchant navy Officers Pension Fund (New Section) reporting the largest liability of £6.3m, however the liability attributable to NDA Group for these schemes is £1.1m for 2008, an increase of £800,000 since 2007.

Tender notices published today showed the NDA is now searching for providers of legal advice and actuarial and investment services to cover the range of pension funds it is involved in.

The three-year contract for a legal consultant would require the successful candidate to take on a number of responsibilities including provide support and contribute to the strategic pensions planning and policy development of the NDA, with particular expertise in change management, including the pensions aspects of corporate restructuring and company sales.

It is also seeking advice in relation to specific pension schemes, on issues such as "exercising principal employer and participating employer powers in respect of those schemes, governance arrangements and regulatory compliance".

Other responsibilities include advice on "satisfying and delivering the legislative and policy protections which apply on compulsory transfers of employees", in particular bulk transfers, while benefit design, advice on communications and appointment of advices and corporate trustees would also be required.

Meanwhile the contract for actuarial and investment advice will require the successful candidate to provide advice on: 

Triennial valuations and funding matters in relation to various schemes for which NDA is lead / principal employer or otherwise has an interest; The production of FRS17 / IAS19 accounting figures; Actuarial factors, trustee valuation and funding matters, and Investment matters, including detailed scheme investment strategies, some of which may make use of complex swap/derivative arrangements.

The actuarial and investment contract, which will also require the provider to undertake appropriate asset - liability investigations as required, will be for an initial period of three years with the option of a further two year extension.

The closing date for tender submissions for both the legal consultancy and the actuarial and investment contract is 6 March 2009.

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