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0800 121 6593
      The Environment Agency Team

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     DL1 1AX

Brunel Pension Partnership

Project Brunel - Investment Pooling

In 2015 the government announced that they wanted the 89 Local Government Pension Scheme funds to pool their investments into larger pools in order to achieve savings in investment management costs.

In response to the government agenda, Project Brunel was set up to explore the options for pooling investment assets across ten Funds. The founding Funds include The Environment Agency Pension Fund, and the Local Government Funds of Avon, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The collective assets of the pool are approximately £23 billion.

The objective of pooling the assets is to achieve savings over the longer term from both lower investment management costs and more effective management of the investment assets. The pool will look to deliver the savings based upon the collective buying power the collaboration initiative will produce. Local accountability will be maintained as each individual fund will remain responsible for strategic decisions including asset allocation. The pooling of assets will only affect the implementation of the investment strategy in terms of manager appointments.

Investment Pooling update received 19 July 2017

Message from our Chair, Emma Howard Boyd and Chief Executive, James Bevan to all Environment Agency staff on 19 July.

"Dear colleagues,

We wanted to let you know that following a rigorous assurance process, the Board has approved the Environment Agency Pension Fund’s (EAPF) participation as a shareholder in the Brunel Pension Partnership Limited (BPP Ltd).

This means the investment operations of our Pension Fund will now be undertaken externally by a specialist organisation, BPP Ltd, which is part controlled and owned by the Environment Agency.

The move is designed to enhance opportunities for performance improvements, reduce fees and extend our globally recognised work on responsible investment to the benefit of the wider pool of funds and their beneficiaries. Critically – a point which was of primary concern to the Pensions Committee, Executive Directors Team and the Board – it will have no detrimental impact on the pension benefits of our members.

Last year we told you the government had introduced regulations that require Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Funds to pool investments, in order to improve efficiency.

As a result of this, BBP Ltd was set up to explore the options for pooling investment assets across 10 LGPS Funds. These include our Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF) and 9 other Local Government Funds.

The Environment Agency Board, as Administering Authority for the EAPF, approved the full business case in December 2016. This approval was made on condition that members’ pensions are not put at additional risk from investment pooling, there are long-term financial benefits and our approach to responsible investment will be continued both by the EAPF itself and through the pension services to be provided.

The Pensions Committee and Pension Fund officers have worked hard to implement these recommendations and conditions. As a result, the Board are now satisfied that the necessary legal and financial assurances are in place to protect the EAPF and its beneficiaries and that the governance supporting BPP is robust.

Our Fund will remain responsible for its strategic investment direction and retains ownership of our assets. There is an opportunity that by pooling our assets and looking to invest together with other Funds, we can make savings through reduction of investment manager fees and lower operating costs.

Our Chair of Pensions Committee, Joanne Segars, will represent the EAPF on the BPP Oversight Board and Ian Brindley, a current member representative on the Pensions Committee, has been selected as a scheme member representative on the Oversight Board."

Emma Howard Boyd
Chair

James Bevan
Chief Executive

Emma Howard Boyd   James Bevan
       

You'll find more information and updates about the project by visiting the Project Brunel website at www.brunelpensionpartnership.org

Last updated: 20/07/2017

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