UK – The Pension Protection Fund has put out an expression of interest application for pension fund consultancy services.

“This exercise is to appoint an organisation to look at the macroeconomic conditions and predict the solvency of the PPF over the long term,” according to a PPF spokesperson.

“This will give us a good idea of what future claims might look like, enabling us to plan ahead for the benefit of levy payers and scheme members alike.”

The invitation document describes the contract as the “provision of a long-term (up to 30 years) stochastic credit portfolio model with the facility to accurately model the PPF exposures to insolvency risk, namely the defined benefits pension schemes' deficits and how they interact with insolvency risk".

The spokesperson told IPE that interested parties were likely to include “techies” or technology-based companies with experience in the financial sector. He added that technology arms of finance firms might also be interested, provided they feel they meet the requirements.

It requires, amongst others, a three-year track record of similar services provided to other organisations, and details of staff employed in the delivery and support of the services.

According to the PPF, it is too early to say when a tender is likely to be launched. It is also too early to comment on the length of the contract.

The spokesperson added that this is not connected to the work carried out for the PPF by credit firm Dun & Bradstreet. This firm is responsible for looking at individual companies for the purposes of the risk-based levies.

The closing date for the open tender is 21 April 2006. According to the invitation, roughly five operators will be invited to participate in the tendering process.

In other news, the PPF spokesperson told IPE that 63 companies are currently “in assessment”.

During this period, the PPF seeks to determine whether the scheme can be rescued. It also looks at the scheme assets, and whether these assets can provide better compensation than the PPF.

The pension funds include: MG Rover Contracts Related Pension Scheme; the Holmes Group Retirement Benefits Scheme (Stanley J Holmes & Sons Limited section); the Blacks Equipment Limited Pension Scheme; the Akzo Nobel (CPS) Pension Scheme (Accordis section); the Drummond Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme; the Moorland Poultry Pension Scheme; and the Lambert Fenchurch Staff Pension Scheme.