UK - Standard & Poor's (S&P) Rating Services and accounting firm Moore Stephens have launched a convenant management service for pension trustees that combines the two firms' company risk assessment approaches.

Defined benefit scheme trustees, who have to consider the strength of their sponsoring employer when putting in place funding plans, have so far been able to choose either a rating service's assessment of sponsors' failure or tailored advice from an accountancy firm to improve a fund's security.

This is the first time that a rating agency has joined forces with an accountancy firm to offer a risk assessment that delivers both sides to trustees, S&P said.

"The service will be flexible so trustees can choose the most const-effective solution that meets their particular circumstances," the company said in a press release.

Commenting on the move, Richard Hall, head of S&P's pension services, said: "We have been aware fro some time that much of the work done in this area by ourselves and accounting firms is complementary."

He added: "S&P's analysis enables trustees to clearly understand the risk of their sponsor failing. Moore Stephens' corporate experience and thorough understanding of our analysis enables them to provide advice on managing that risk."

Last week S&P already announced that US investment research company Morningstar has acquired the firm's mutual fund data business for $55m (€42m).