UK - F&C Asset Management has announced it expects to complete its acquisition of Thames River Capital by the beginning of next month, after it was given authorisation by the Financial Services Authority.

The transaction was first announced in April, with F&C shareholders voting on the matter at this summer's general meeting.

F&C chief executive Alain Grisay said buying Thames River marked a new chapter in the company's history and built on the successful acquisition of REIT Asset Management in 2008.

He said: "The management teams at F&C and Thames River have a shared vision for where we want to take the group and are deeply committed to its success."

Charlie Porter, current chief executive of Thames River, will join F&C's executive committee and be in charge of the organisation's retail and wholesale funds business.

F&C had €110bn in assets under management at the end of last year, ranking 66th in IPE's Top 400 Asset Managers.

In other news, a survey by Barnett Waddingham of 26 University Self Administered Trusts (SATs) showed the average institution's pension deficit represented 13% of its overall assets, excluding the pension deficit.

Additionally, the consultancy said  scheme funding levels had dropped by 8 percentage points over the last five years to 73%.

The survey, based on figures from the end of July last year, also showed that one institution's deficit represented a quarter of the university's net assets.

Nick Griggs, a partner at the consultancy, said: "With university funding cuts and the likelihood of upward pressure on pension contribution rates, it will be important that schemes be managed effectively.

"It will be interesting to see how things develop when the survey is run next year."

Finally, Hargreaves Lansdown has urged the government to adopt a simpler approach to pension tax relief in its submission to ongoing review.

The company said a lower annual allowance, which it believes could be as low as £35,000 (€42,700), combined with a full marginal rate of tax relief would be more sensible than a higher allowance, with tax relief capped at 40%.

Tom McPhail, Hargreaves Lansdown's head of pensions research, said simplicity was key to the reforms.

He added: "It is imperative the government restore tax relief at investors' full marginal rates of income tax if it is to avoid making a curate's egg of the reforms."