UK – Twenty-one pensions administration staff of consumer cooperative the Co-op are to be transferred to Mercer Human Resource Consulting in an outsourcing arrangement.

The Co-operative Pension Services staff will transfer in a move involving £700m in assets and more than 30 pension schemes.

They will move to the consulting firm’s Manchester office under TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of_Employment)] arrangements.

“Mercer demonstrated clear advantages, and we are confident that our former CPS clients will benefit from the service levels and economies of scale that an organisation of Mercer’s size can offer, and from the continuity provided by our staff joining the Mercer team,” said John Reizenstein, financial and actuarial executive director at Co-op Financial Services.

“We felt this gave the best possible way forward for our former clients and for our staff.”

Mercer will now take over as actuarial and administration service provider to the trustees of more than 30 pension schemes, primarily in the co-operative movement.

The appointment covers a number of defined benefit schemes, with total memberships of approximately 46,000 and assets worth £700m.

“We are absolutely delighted with this success,” said Mercer head of HR services Mike Tyler. “This is a very significant appointment for Mercer in the UK.”

In other news, Mercer Investment Consulting has released research results suggesting that investment managers are more in sync with corporate governance matters than social and environmental issues.

Mercer found that generally investment managers showed greater capacity and capability for voting and engaging with management on corporate governance related issues than on environmental or social issues, said a press statement released this week.

The study involved more than 30 investment managers rated highly for their UK and/or global equity products from a range of firms.

One of the reasons for this research is that a growing number of investors believe that ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues can have an impact on the earnings of portfolio companies and investment performance, and should therefore be integrated into investment analysis.

“This research allows institutional investors to systematically assess investment managers’ performance in these areas, something a growing number of our clients wish to do,” said Mercer principal Jane Ambachtsheer.