The UK’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has put out an EU tender notice in search of a company to provide an economic scenario generator, used to come up with the large set of scenarios needed for a stochastic, or random probability, analysis.
The PPF, which has £22.6bn (€31.2bn) in assets and was set up to shield pension scheme members from corporate collapses, said the tender was not related to the performance of its current provider Barrie & Hibbert, which is now part of the Moody’s Corporation.
The fund said it had been using Barrie & Hibbert since July 2006 and was now simply testing the market to see what other providers were offering.
The PPF said it wanted either to hire a new provider or to renew the contract with Barrie & Hibbert by April 2016.
In the tender notice, the PPF said: “The board is seeking to procure a licence for an economic scenario generator for use in assumption-generation for a range of medium and long-term modelling.”
It said the company it picked would have to be able to provide a “real-world calibration of an appropriate time frame, including outputs for a sufficiently broad range of asset classes given the investment strategy of the board and the pension schemes it protects”.
These outputs should also allow it to project the liabilities, it said.
The applicant should be able to provide a regular, well-justified and researched ‘house view’ calibration, the PPF said, though it added that the solution should also be flexible, making user-defined calibrations possible, too.
“As well as appropriate technical functionality, the successful candidate will also provide technical support, training and knowledge sharing, committing to a range of SLAs (service-level agreements) and regular feedback sessions to ensure client satisfaction,” the fund said.
The contract is expected to last three years, with the option to extend for a further two 12-month periods, according to the notice.
The deadline for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 16 October.
Separately, the PPF announced that its 2016-17 levy estimate would be set at £615m, lower than last year’s estimate of £635m.
David Taylor, the fund’s general counsel, said the reduction reflected improvements in the Experian scores that scheme employers and guarantors were receiving.
But he added that this had been balanced by a deterioration in the smoothed scheme funding levels the fund uses to set levies.
The PPF also said it had published the 2016-17 levy consultation document, and that the consultation period would end on 22 October.