Warwickshire’s local authority fund may join the £9bn (€12.3bn) asset pool backed by East Riding, Surrey and Cumbria after deciding the partnership best understood its approach to alternatives.
The £1.6bn local government pension scheme (LGPS) said it also met with West Midlands Pension Fund about joining its asset pool, which has attracted the backing of eight funds to date, worth an estimated £35bn.
However, Warwickshire opted for the partnership with East Riding as the “most appropriate” solution currently available
It has agreed to a joint submission with the three participating funds to make the case for the asset pool, now boosted to £10.5bn.
In a report to Warwickshire’s investment sub-committee, treasury and pension fund manager Mathew Dawson argued in favour of closer cooperation with the three funds, as Warwickshire would have a “strong voice” in the management of the proposed pool.
Dawson added that the partnership had shown an understanding of Warwickshire’s existing asset allocation, “particularly in the alternatives space”, citing its current approach to private equity and hedge funds.
As of March 2015, Warwickshire had £79.7m, or 4.9% of assets, invested in a Blackstone Group-managed hedge fund mandate, and a further £31.1m of an agreed £60m private equity mandate invested with HarbourVest.
Dawson noted that Warwickshire agreed to submit a joint response with the three funds after John Appleton, local councillor and chair of the investment sub-committee, met with his counterpart at Surrey County Council, two days after the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) outlined criteria for asset pools.
The joint response, due to be submitted to DCLG by 19 February, marks the first step in proposed asset pools gaining government approval.
However, Dawson told IPE that, despite the joint submission, Warwickshire would continue talking to other potential asset pools.
He stressed that the committee had, for now, only signed off a joint submission for the February consultation but not for the final consultation due next July.
Warwickshire was one of two funds previously involved in a £6.5bn joint procurement exercise for passive equity and fixed income not to join the West Midlands pool.
The second fund, the £3.1bn Leicestershire County Council Pension Fund, told IPE it was still discussing which pooling arrangement to pursue.
A spokeswoman said its pensions committee would consider the available options in late January, allowing it to submit its initial proposal for the mid-February deadline set by DCLG.
She added: “Until any decision has been made, we cannot comment further.”