LGPS Central, one of the UK’s eight local authority pension asset pools, has launched its global active emerging market bond fund.

The fund has been launched with initial investment of £630m (€684m) from four of the pool’s eight partner pension funds, namely the funds for Cheshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and West Midlands.

The pool initially indicated the fund size would be in the region of £900m. A spokesperson explained that it has been launched with less for asset allocation timing reasons.

“We have had several occasions when partner funds have added to sub funds post-launch, and we are open to further investments into the fund moving forward,” he added.

Tom Davies, assistant director for investment strategy at West Midlands Pension Fund, said emerging market debt played an important role in fulfilling the pension fund’s long-term obligations and objectives “and this launch represents continued development of our strategy for the asset class”.

“We have been very pleased to work with LGPS Central Limited and other partner funds in the development and launch of the product.”

As previously reported, the fund is to be managed by Amundi and M&G Investments; each will receive half of the total mandate. BlackRock transitioned the assets to the fund.

LGPS Central’s eight regional LGPS funds have roughly £45bn in assets under management between them.

LAPFF seeks assurances over US copper mine project

The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has written to Rio Tinto and BHP to seek assurances in relation to Resolution Copper, a controversial proposed copper mine project in Arizona.

The organisation, an association of UK public sector pension investors with combined assets of more than £300bn, said it contacted the companies upon the news that the US Forest Service will issue a final environmental impact statement next week that paves the way for a land swap allowing Resolution Cooper to proceed.

LAPFF said it wanted to see made public all past and future environmental and social impact assessments by the companies in relation to the project.

It also said it would like confirmation from Rio Tinto and BHP about the “decision-making capacity” of representatives of the communities affected by the project.

“Over the past couple of years, LAPFF has engaged extensively with communities affected by mining operations in Brazil, Australia, and the US,” said Councillor Doug McMurdo, chair of the association.

“These engagements have revealed troubling patterns of mining companies failing to incorporate community voice adequately into decision-making processes.

“In the Forum’s view, these failures have contributed to disasters such as the tailings dam collapses at Mariana and Brumadinho in Brazil and the destruction of culturally significant caves at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia. LAPFF is keen to ensure that another such disaster does not occur at Oak Flat.”

Native American tribes have historical ties to the area of the project. According to the Resolution Copper website, the project organisations are working to preserve the area’s cultural heritage and working collaboratively with the community.

Also according to the website, Rio Tinto and BHP, which have a 55% and 45% stake in the project, respectively, have spent over $2bn to develop and permit the project.

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