UK - The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) has confirmed Great-West Retirement Services (Europe) consortium has become the third of four shortlisted companies to withdraw from the process to provide scheme administration for personal accounts, leaving just Tata in the running for the contract.

The Great-West bid was a consortium of Great-West Retirement Services, Great-West Life and Annuity Insurance and Canada Life Group, so this now leaves Tata Consultancy Services as the only remaining firm in dialogue for the contract which was expected to be agreed with a provider in June 2010.

Logica pulled out of the process in November, following the earlier withdrawal by Danish pension group ATP in October. (See earlier IPE articles: And then there were two: Logica pulls its PADA bid and ATP heads up personal accounts admin shortlist)

Tim Jones, chief executive of PADA, said: "We wish to thank GWRS for their engagement with us. We enjoyed working with them and have benefited greatly from their input throughout the dialogue process. We will continue our detailed discussions with Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS)."

He added that Tata are "an exceptionally strong bidder and we are making excellent progress but we need to conclude the procurement process appropriately and evaluate their proposals. Our priority is to get value for money for personal accounts scheme members and deliver them a solution that will meet our requirements - we are very confident we can do that".

Jones continued: "We will provide further updates on the next steps as soon as we can." 

Meanwhile, PADA today also announced that work will begun in February to find a provider of fund administration and global custody services for the new system of personal accounts.

In a Prior Information Notice (PIN) regarding the contract, PADA confirmed these services would be the next to be procured for the pension scheme.

The process will begin with a two and a half hour 'supplier event' on 12 January 2010, where potential suppliers can receive additional information on the contract and raise any questions. A formal tender notice will then be issued in early February 2010.

PADA noted the tender would be for a single 10-year contract for fund accounting and global custodian services, which are likely to include: 

Administering and maintaining the fund of fund structure for the default fund and alternative fund choices Calculating the annual management charge Cash management

In addition, PADA said as the value of the scheme grows the asset management approach might move from pooled funds to being managed on a segregated basis. It is therefore "essential" that the supplier can provide full custody services and safe keeping of the assets in this instance, said the body.

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