UK - Brent County Council has appointed a consultant to examine the possibility of recovering withholding tax on its investments, while Hertfordhsire County Council has increased its pension fund's equity allocation.

The £345m (€418m) Brent County Council pension fund is the latest local authority scheme to appoint KPMG to recover withholding tax from European investments.

The public sector scheme aims to reclaim £600,000 in withheld tax levied on dividends paid by companies within many of the EU states.

Martin Spriggs, head of exchequer and investment at the Brent scheme, said KPMG's "vast experience" had secured the firm's appointment, adding there were strong fears money would not be recovered if claims were registered inappropriately or inefficiently.

The precise figure Brent is able to reclaim depends on the extent and cost of legal action, although the fund is committed to paying initial fees of £29,500.

The appointment of KPMG to Brent follows the £628m Highland County Council's move last month, as the Scottish scheme seeks to recover £1.6m in tax levies.

The £2bn Hertfordshire County Council pension fund has awarded £30m to incumbent equity managers Jupiter Asset Management and Baillie Gifford.

The money has been transferred from the local authority's cash holding and will be invested in UK stocks following the upturn in equity performance.

Separately, the fund has appointed CB Richard Ellis Property Investors to run an undisclosed real estate brief.