UK – The two billion-pound (2.9 billion euro) South Tyneside Metropolitan District Council pension fund is to announce the replacement of Watson Wyatt as scheme actuary over the coming week.

A spokesman at the fund said that it had already been intended to re-tender for the position of scheme actuary, but the announcement by Watson Wyatt that it was withdrawing from the UK local authority market encouraged the scheme to bring forward the tender.

He added that contractual arrangement had already been discussed and the replacement actuary would be announced in the next few days.

In April, Watson Wyatt said it was withdrawing from the one million-pound (1.45 million euro) business of providing actuarial consulting to UK local authorities. It had 21 local authority pension fund clients and intends to have terminated all actuarial arrangements by October.

A spokesman at Watson Wyatt said the consultant wanted “to focus its research and development capabilities elsewhere,” adding that the market for providing actuarial services to local authorities is a specialised one.

Watson will continue to provide investment-consulting services to local authority pension funds, including asset liability modelling studies. It will also continue to provide other consulting services to local authorities.

"Our involvement with local authority pension funds has been declining in recent years and, when coupled with the growth of our firm, this now represents a small part of our business," said Hugh Chambers, a partner at Watson Wyatt.