UK - Oxfordshire County Council is seeking an actuary for its £796m (€925m) local government pension scheme.

The council currently employs Hewitt for the scheme's actuarial services however it is re-tendering the contract for an initial period of five years with the option of a further three-year extension.

Valued at between £720,000 and £1.2m, the contract is scheduled to begin on 11 December 2009 and will require the successful applicant to provide a full range of services and advice to both the Council and the 90 scheme employers including: "triennial valuations; FRS17; bulk transfers; advice on admission agreements and ad hoc advice".

Figures from the last pension fund committee meeting in May showed the value of the fund was £795.8m at the end of March 2009, down from £845.9m at the end of December 2008, as the fund posted a return of -6.7% in the first quarter of 2009, albeit this was better than the -8% benchmark return in the same period.

Oxfordshire appointed a new financial adviser to the fund earlier this year and awarded a 10-year specialist passive equity mandate to Legal & General Investment management (LGIM), while it was also still deciding what to do with the funds divested from its Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA) strategy. (See earlier IPE articles: Oxford drops TAA over poor performance and Oxford appoints IFA and passive equity manager)

Minutes from an earlier committee meeting in February also showed that the council had deferred the decision to alter the fund's strategic asset allocation, to allow an increase in the private equity benchmark, along with plans for a hedge fund strategy until the annual review of the asset allocation scheduled for August 2009.

The closing date for applications for the actuarial services tender is 21 September 2009 and further information can be obtained from the procurement department at Oxfordshire County Council.  

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email