UK - The UK's £26bn (€38.5bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has awarded  ABN AMRO Mellon Global Securities Services a £5bn global custody, cash management and securities lending solutions mandate.

The move follows USS's  2005 review of all its custody arrangements, which was subsequently placed on hold early last year during "a comprehensive evaluation of investment strategy," according to a release.

Following that review, the custody request for proposal process was resurrected, with Thomas Murray acting as consultants.

Colin Hunter, chief financial officer at USS, said in a statement that the scheme was "particularly attracted" to ABN AMRO Mellon's securities lending capabilities and the firm's technology platforms, adding: "ABN AMRO Mellon's capabilities in the specialised area of lending auctions were a key determining factor in their appointment."

With regards to the recently announced Bank of New York-Mellon meger, Hunter said the fund was happy with the reassurances that were given regarding the impact of the deal.

USS, the corporate trustee of the principal pension scheme for staff of universities and other higher education and research institutions in the UK, is one of the country's largest  private sector pension schemes with over 390 participating institutions.

It also emerged today that Steve James has been promoted to head of UK trustee and depositary services at ABN AMRO Mellon Global Securities Services.

He will take over with immediate effect from retiring John Morris, whom James has so far served as deputy head in the department.

Morris said: "It was always understood that my tenure as head of UK trustee and depositary services would only run for a three year period."