UK – Unilever’s roughly £4.3bn (€6.3bn) UK pension scheme has axed Russell Investment Group as investment consultant in favour of Mercer, scheme chief investment officer Wendy Mayall confirmed today.
Russell – which was consultant to the scheme for more than 10 years – will maintain ties with the Unilever fund through its private equity arm, Pantheon.
According to Mayall, the move followed the consumer group’s decision to appoint Mercer as adviser on its cross-border pooled funds. She added that “it made sense” to appoint Mercer to advise the UK scheme as well.
At the start of June, Mercer unveiled a one-stop service in the UK, which combines pension scheme management, administration, asset management and member communications for a fixed fee.
The new offering - ‘Mercer Retirement Solutions’ - includes the Mercer Global Investments multi-manager service that already has $10bn under management in the US and Australia.
Russell Investment Group also recently launched its multi-billion euro multi-manager business, which some claim could make Russell’s consultant outfit redundant.
While Russell’s European institutional services chief Pascal Duval was today unavailable for comment, he was quoted in a media report as saying the group would keep its consulting operation. He added that the consultant and multi-manager arms add value and opportunity.