consultancy service aims to fill void created by a lack of expertise by many pension trustees
Investment consultant Epic is targeting group pension fund trustees, believing increasing investment requirements is creating a demand for advice.
The company, a subsidiary of Equity Partnership Ltd, launched on 5 February and is targeting pension funds with assets in excess of £50m.
Marketing efforts will initially focus on 60 funds in the home counties.
The group believes the Myners Report and the Trustee Act 2000 have given it a huge opportunity, said Christopher Edge, chief executive of Epic.
'The trustee's role is to create an effective strategy, but there is a lack of genuine expertise among trustees,' said Edge.
'We intend to provide them with the right questions to ask of those making investment decisions.'
Edge was keen to stress it will not provide investment manager research.
'Our role is quite subtle ' we are not there to make fundamental calls,' he said.
Edge believes corporate governance requirements in the wake of Myners may eventually lead to compulsory employment of paid advisers for pension schemes.
Jo Welman, chairman of Epic, acknowledged that multi-manager offerings may have a role to play for pension funds.
'It is impossible to ignore multi-manager,' he said. 'It is a growing influence, although we haven't yet been asked to do multi-manager for pension funds.'
The group currently has four senior investment professionals: Edge, Welman, Nick Broadhead, formerly with Baring Asset Management, and Bill Horwood, formerly at Phillips and Drew.
Members of Epic's team will meet once a month to discuss general and client-specific investment issues.
Charges for Epic's core service will start at £12,000, said Edge. As part of the package, Epic will also offer an SRI rating service in conjunction with ethical rating agency Serm.
'We believe local authorities will want to hear about SRI,' said Edge. 'The Government is likely to move SRI forward and it is not something that will go away.'
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