The £600m($950m) UK pension fund of the international sugar group Tate & Lyle has appointed Bankers Trust as its first ever global custodian.
Group pensions director Peter Whyte says: Up to now we have always held our full investment re-cords in the department, as otherwise you are dependant on what the investment managers told you."
But with the development and growing sophistication of global custodians, the fund felt this was no longer necessary. "With on line ac-cess, we felt we could logically dispense with this role." Through BT's reporting system, the data from the fund's three external managers will be on-line through an integrated Windows platform.
The fund was able to come to a satisfactory arrangement with the custodian and Whyte says: "The package has enabled us to become more efficient." In addition to negotiating a "reasonable fee" with the custodian, two of the fund managers agreed to a fee reduction and one did not.
"We have asked BT to look at the possibility of securities lending, to see whether it is a viable proposition, but no proposals have been put to the trustees," says Whyte.
"As BT was one of our custodians, it was really a case of concentrating on one and eliminating the other two, rather than finding someone new," he says, though other services were looked at. The majority of the stocks were already registered with BT. "But we did make sure that BT was also looking after clients for our other two managers."
For Whyte, the move is a measure of how far custodial services have im-proved. "Looked at historically, we had not been impressed with the services that could be provided by custodians.""