The independent trustee of Standard Life Investments has hired Barnett Waddingham to provide investment consultancy services to the trustees of two large plans, with combined assets of $4.5 billion. With the appointment of the UK-based actuarial specialist, the trustees aim to have a “more robust” approach in place for advisory and management.
Standard Life Investments is an established asset manager and a large player in the UK pensions arena – the company manages nearly £200 billion in assets for clients worldwide. The firm’s global investment capabilities span equities, fixed income, real estate, private equity, multi-asset solutions, fund-of-funds and absolute return strategies. Standard Life Investments is headquartered in Edinburgh and employs more than 1,100 professionals around the world, with offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Beijing, Montreal, Sydney, Dublin, Paris and Seoul.
Last year the independent trustee to two of Standard Life’s plans – Stanplan A DC master trust (£2 billion) and Standard Life DC Master Trust (£800 million) – decided to contract an independent party for advising on investment-related decision. Up to last month, consulting was provided by an affiliate of Standard Life, yet in line with the objective for a “more robust” approach an external search was started, says Richard Butcher, managing director at PTL (the independent trustee for the plans). Following a due diligence on a number of parties, the decision fell in the favour of Barnett Waddingham, an actuarial specialist with seven offices across the UK. “We chose Barnett Waddingham because they showed the greatest insight to our needs, probably as a result of their experience with other commercial DC master trusts. Their appointment is great news for members and for good member outcomes,” explains Butcher.
Alex Pocock, partner at Barnett Waddingham, says he is “excited” to be working with the PTL team to ensuring “strong governance” of the Standard Life master trusts. For his advisory firm, Standard Life represents “another excellent client win for our rapidly-growing DC investment consultancy practice,” says Pocock. Butcher adds: “Investments are a key component to the delivery of good member outcomes – whether that be the design of the default or the range of “self-select” funds. Good governance around those has always been demanding for trustees, but the bar is being raised even higher, right now, by the government’s and regulator’s quality standards agenda.”
Earlier this month, the trustee of the Kingfisher Pension Scheme appointed Hymans Robertson, one of Barnett Waddingham’s main rivals in the actuarial consultancy landscape, as its scheme actuary and adviser. Other recent pension wins for Barnett Waddingham include Thomas Cook (investment consultancy services to its £850 million plan) and logistics multinational Agility (fiduciary monitoring services to the trustees of the £100 million Agility Pension Plan).
* Amersham, Bromsgrove, Cheltenham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and London.