Responsible investment key to new €1.8bn Merseyside manager search

Search for passive equity and fixed income managers.

The £5bn (€6.4bn) Merseyside Pension Fund is seeking fund managers that adhere to responsible investing principles in a new £1.4bn (€1.8bn) search for passive equity and fixed income managers.

Owen Thorne, the scheme’s investment officer, said managers would be reviewed to see whether they have signed up to the UN-backed Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI).

For managers in the UK, adherence to the Stewardship Code would be desired, Thorne added. The pension fund is being advised on the search by Mercer, whom Thorne said had wide expertise in responsible investing.Merseyside is looking to invest £400m in UK equities, £400m in North American equities and £600m in UK index-linked gilts. Successful managers will also assist the fund in shifting to other asset classes when opportune. These include European, Asian and emerging market equities as well as UK corporate bonds.

In February 2011 the fund, the fifth largest in the UK’s Local Government Pension Scheme, tendered a £1.34bn passive equity and fixed income mandate (link).

The fund doesn’t believe in screening but prefers to promote best practice at investee companies.

For proxy voting at shareholder meetings, the fund relies on UK governance consultant PIRC.