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21.12.15

West Midlands councils and pension funds to pool £35bn LGPS assets

Eight Midlands-based local government pension funds are set to set up a £35bn multi-asset investment pool to deliver on the government’s cost-cutting proposals.

The participating bodies include Derbyshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Cheshire Pension Fund, Shropshire County Pension Fund, West Midlands ITA, West Midlands Pension Fund, Staffordshire Pension Fund and Worcestershire County Council.

The initial collaboration of £35bn – the value of all their portfolios as of March – will meet the scale sought by Whitehall in its investment pooling criteria for the local government pension scheme (LGPS).

As well as offer access to both internal and external investment management, the new investment pool will aim to share funds’ knowledge, increase their resilience and develop more robust governance and decision-making arrangements.

Each of the funds will continue to retain their separate identities and local accountability, as well as have equal say and oversight of the new entity.

Chancellor George Osborne originally announced plans to merge the assets of the 89 existing LGPS schemes into six new British Wealth Funds during the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, attended by PSE – although the DCLG had announced in 2014 that it would not press ahead with the mergers.

Initial government proposals on investment pooling are needed by 19 February of next year, with final submissions expected by 15 July, including joint and individual submissions from all authorities participating in investment pools.

The new arrangements are expected to be set up by April 2018.

The West Midlands Pension Fund said the participating authorities “look forward to increased cooperation and collaboration in setting up the new investment pool and in working with the LGPS more widely”.

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