London councils consider shared pensions admin

London's councils are considering pooling their administration for pensions, in a bid to slash ongoing costs of £30 million, it has been reported.

Some 32 boroughs, alongside the City of London Corporation and the London Pensions Fund Authority, could see their processing costs fall "sharply", it has been proposed.

London Councils, an umbrella group pushing for the changes, told the Financial Times that there was a meeting last month to discuss the proposals. "There was a commitment to explore further the proposals for the creation of a London Pensions Mutual, as a pan-London investment fund."

The proposals are loosely modelled on Canada's Ontario Pension Board, the newspaper reported. But it remains unclear whether the service will be outsourced.

The councils have also claimed that as much as by combining the funds invested, they will be able to better co-ordinate and direct up to £2.25 billion funds into local infrastructure projects.

"Each scheme has separate advisers, administrators, fund managers with their performance fees – if councils work together that cost can be steeply cut," said Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the Local Government Association.

"It's time to think: is this the most efficient way to do things?" added Mark Taylor, chief executive of the LPFA. "I'm pretty confident that nobody in their right mind would invent 34 different authorities to do the same thing, even non-core stuff like running pension funds."

The plan is understood to have the backing of Eric Pickles, communities secretary.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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