The ACCESS asset pool being formed by 11* UK local government pension schemes is carrying out a “market engagement process” to help it with the potential launch of a tender for an external provider of the pool’s investment vehicle.

Kent County Council, acting on behalf of the collaboration of the pension funds in the central, eastern and southern Shires in England, informed the market of the pool’s intentions in a “prior information notice”.

The ACCESS pool, like the Welsh pool, is expected to hire a regulated operating company rather than build this function in-house.

The Welsh LGPS started the formal process in August by way of a pre-tender notice to the market.

In its notice, the ACCESS pool said the participating funds “wish to carry out market research with regulated third-party operators that would be able to provide one or more collective vehicles to benefit from economies of scale from the management of their pension fund assets”.

Kent County Council, as the contracting authority, added: “The administering authorities are considering the scope and specification of services that may be required should they decide to procure such services in the future.”

Should the ACCESS pool decide to proceed with an invitation to tender, this would be launched in early 2017 and would likely be split in two, with one part being for core services and the other for additional services, according to the notice.

The operator would be expected to provide the core services, such as establishing and operating the Authorised Contractual Scheme (ACS) and providing oversight of investment managers, but it may also provide some or all of the additional services.

These, according to the notice, include “manager searches/recommendations/monitoring”, “[leveraging] business relationships to secure fee savings” and “enhanced performance/risk reporting”.

Interested companies have until 25 November to register their interest. 

*The local administering authorities that have proposed forming the ACCESS pool are Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Norfolk, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Kent, Hertfordshire, West Sussex and Suffolk