UK - Shetland Islands Council is tendering both the investment consultancy and actuarial consultancy roles for its local authority pension fund.

Hymans Robertson currently provides the council with the services to the £147m (€170m) pension fund, but the authority is retendering a five-year contract for each role beginning on 1 October 2009.

Latest figures from the Shetland Islands Council's review of the pension fund showed the value of the scheme declined by £40m in the year to 31 March 2009 following the drop in stock markets, as the scheme has a 75% allocation to equities.

However, it noted as the stock markets have "recovered some ground" since the end of March, the 5.3% increase in the FTSE 100 at the 1st May 2009 meant the value of the scheme had reached £163m.

At its last triennial valuation in March 2008, the scheme was 88% funded, which it claimed "was one of the best funded Local Authority Pension Funds in Scotland", allowing it to have one of the lowest levels of employer contributions in Scotland at 16.4%.

The pension fund currently employs just three investment managers, with the largest portfolio of £136m held by its transition manager, Barclays Global Investors (BGI), on a passive basis following the termination of Capital International's mandate in 2008.

The remainder of the fund is split between a £9m property portfolio run by Schroders and a small £2m currency mandate managed by Record. However a planned review of the scheme's investment strategy has been "put on hold" until the a review of the Scottish LGPS has been completed.

This is because the review, ordered by the Scottish government and carried out by the Improvement Service, is expected to report in the next few months on both the investment and administrative services of the LGPS and will also look at "alternative ways to manage these services, such as one large centrally controlled Scottish Pension Fund, or perhaps only two or three large pension funds".

The deadline for applications for one or both of the consultancy roles is 3 August 2009 and further details can be obtained from the executive services department at the council.
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