News & Views

Interesting article by Pensions Expert around investment consultant manager selection, with input from Roger Brown of IC Select. Pension trustees have an important, but difficult, role to play in the good governance of their scheme. As an industry, pension experts should strive for increased transparency and clear presentation of salient information across all areas of impact. 


The £4bn (€4.7bn) UK Power Networks Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS) has appointed BlackRock as fiduciary manager, following a competitive tender process run by IC Select.

Michele Hirons-Wood, head of pensions at UK Power Networks, said the scheme was looking for “a partner who could help us design and manage an investment strategy aligned to our funding objectives.”

She said BlackRock fully understood the group and showed flexibility in accommodating the scheme’s ”unique circumstances”.

BlackRock will advise, design and implement the scheme’s asset allocation and manager selection across all asset classes, evolving the portfolio as the scheme matures.

According to a statement, the firm will use Aladdin, its proprietary platform, to provide sophisticated risk management and analysis, including reporting, giving trustees end-to-end transparency.

Bespoke training, education and guidance to trustees will also be provided by BlackRock in addition to transition management services, it added.

A spokeswoman said the group used SEI as fiduciary for a smaller pension scheme, but BlackRock would be UK Power Networks Group of the ESPS’s first fiduciary manager.

Sion Cole, head of UK fiduciary business at BlackRock, said UK Power Networks Group of the ESPS is following the recent trend of much larger schemes considering fiduciary management. “For the group, we have been able to deliver an incredibly tailored solution,” he added.

The fiduciary management industry saw assets under management increase 21% to reach £172bn at the end of June this year, up from £142bn as at end-June 2018, according to research from KPMG.

Asset TV’s Fiduciary Management Institutional Masterclass now live featuring IC Select’s Roger Brown along side Charlotte Tyrwhitt Drake from Kempen Capital Management and Hannah Simons from Schroders

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