Seven UK consultancies have been appointed to a wide-ranging actuarial and governance framework agreement backed by seven English local government pension schemes (LGPS).

The framework agreement, part of the National LGPS Framework project being run by Norfolk County Council, in March sought to appoint companies to advise on actuarial, governance and benefit matters, as well as consult on so-called special projects – a likely reference to work affiliated with the creation of local authority asset pools.

The four-year contract, estimated to be worth up to £350m (€441m) if all LGPS availed themselves of the services of those shortlisted, saw all four applicants for the actuarial services win a space within the framework.

As a result, Aon Hewitt, Barnett Waddingham, Hymans Robertson and Mercer can all be chosen for actuarial services without a fund’s administering authority having to conduct a formal tender.

The same four consultancies were also shortlisted for the benefits consultancy services lot, while KPMG joined the existing list of firms for the governance consultancy services lot – out of a total seven applicants.

The final lot, for supply of specialist services, saw 10 firms apply for inclusion but only seven shortlisted.

In addition to the five firms already included in the three above lots, Equiniti and PwC can now also be awarded contracts by UK LGPS funds without a formal competitive tender.

The framework is the latest in a number of ones tendered by Norfolk County Council in an effort to reduce the cost of procurement of the LGPS sector.

The council last year announced that Nigel Keogh, formerly a pensions technical manager at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, would join to oversee the procurement exercises on a permanent basis.