FirstGroup and Apache appoint Mercer

Transport operator FirstGroup and oil and gas exploration and production company Apache have appointed consultancy Mercer to provide implemented consulting services to their pension funds.

FirstGroup will use the services for one of its UK pension plans, which has total assets of £35 million. This will provide the fund with investment diversification and enable the trustee to focus its limited governance budget on higher-level strategic issues.

Mercer’s investment team will be responsible for all manager selection decisions and it will also provide actuarial services for the scheme.

John Chilman, group reward and pensions director at FirstGroup, said: “We chose Mercer through a competitive tender process, based on [its] core skills in strategic asset allocation, the strength of its manager research and its ability to physically implement the strategy through its operational infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, Apache will use Mercer’s implemented consulting support for its £80m UK fund.

Dan Melley, head of business development for Mercer’s implemented investment consulting business, said: “A key driver for these and other pension schemes seeking implemented consulting is the desire to enhance governance without the commitment of further management time, cost and resources.

“Many trustees need to focus on doing their day jobs, so have decided to use their limited pension time to concentrate on higher-level strategic issues. The ultimate benefit of this delegated approach is the ability to reduce financial risks and improve returns from their investments.”

Read more on pensions