UK - Several UK pension funds are  searching for managers to handle asset allocation mandates or have made appointments, while two defined benefit funds have announced they intend to close schemes to future accrual.

The London Borough of Camden is seeking a property manager for its £668m (€744.5m) pension fund. Meanwhile Ealing council is tendering a pensions administration contract and Kent County Council has appointed a scheme actuary.

Camden Council is offering a £35-70m property mandate to one or more managers as part of the recent restructure of its investment portfolio earlier in the year, which included the appointment of passive securities, fixed income and global equity managers. (See earlier IPE articles: Camden fulfils first stage of restructuring and Camden to consider real estate increase)

The mandate could consist of one or more strategies including a single manager pooled UK property fund, a segregated or pooled UK property fund of funds, or a segregated/pooled global property fund of funds.

The UK strategy will be benchmarked against the IPD All Balanced Funds Index, while a global strategy is likely to have an absolute return target. The closing date for submissions is 30 November 2009 and further information can be obtained from Hymans Robertson.

The London Borough of Ealing is seeking a pensions administration provider, ahead of the expiry of the existing contract held by Liberata. (See earlier IPE article: BAA seeks actuarial advice)

Ealing confirmed the contract is for up to 10 years, with an initial seven-year term, and requires the successful appointee to provide accurate and timely data and ensure pensioners receive scheme benefits, while also outlining business continuity plans for the administration of the £467m scheme.

Tenders should be submitted by 8 December 2009 and further information can be obtained from eth procurement department at Ealing Council.

Meanwhile, Kent County Council has appointed Barnett Waddingham for the provision of actuarial services to the £2bn Kent Pension Fund out of four tender submissions. 

Barnett Waddingham replaces Hymans Robertson in the role, and it will be required to produce triennial valuations, FRS 17 reports and general advice to the pension scheme and the superannuation committee.

Elsewhere, the UK pub company Punch Taverns has appointed Hewitt Associates to provide pensions administration and pension manager support services to its £320m pension scheme, which has a combined total of more than 11,000 DB and DC members.

Simon Belton, group pension manager at Punch Taverns, said: "We were already receiving actuarial and investment advice from Hewitt, so we have had the opportunity to build a strong working relationship. Using Hewitt for pensions administration services for our Spirit Group and Retail pension schemes was a logical extension of that."

Newspaper publishing firm Trinity Mirror has announced it will hold a two-month consultation period over plans to close its DB scheme to future accrual.

The group, which operates a number of national and regional newspapers including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Record, claimed it can no longer afford to provide final salary benefits, and closing the scheme to future accrual would help the business to eliminate the existing deficit. Under the proposals, DB members will have the option to continue building future benefits in the DC Trinity Mirror Pension Plan.

Sugar manufacturer Tate & Lyle has also revealed it is consulting with employees to close the UK Group Pension scheme to future accrual from April 2011. The scheme closed to new entrants in April 2002, so around 400 workers would be affected by the decision.

Tate & Lyle claimed the move is a way of "containing our pension costs and reducing balance sheet volatility", as it revealed in its interim statement last week that the net pension liability had increased from £211m to £296m in the six months between March and September because of a reduction in the bond rates used to discount liabilities.

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