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Fiduciary Manager of the Year
Aon Hewitt’s launch of a fiduciary management programme for defined benefit pensions as small as £5 million underlines its commitment to the market. Since arriving on the scene in 2009, the firm has never lost a full fiduciary client and in the 12 months to the end of May 2016, saw European assets grow by 35%. As the firm runs all client money through third parties, it claims to seek out the best possible options and can create a bespoke option for each one. Its scale – £10 billion under management in the UK – means it has negotiated fee savings, up to 75% in some cases, which are entirely passed on to pension funds.
BlackRock cites it breadth and depth of capabilities as a boon for pensions funds navigating through global markets. Its risk management and hedging techniques, along with nimble dynamic asset allocation, are differentiators from the rest of the market, BlackRock said in its submission. Its innovation over the past 18 months has been to open all this up to smaller pension funds. Since 2015, investors with less than £250 million can, for the first time, access BlackRock’s Aladdin risk management platform and both the best of the firm’s in-house and third-party managers.
Cardano’s staff-to-client ratio of 5:1 is one of the highest in the sector, the company claims, and it now employs 100 people since launch in 2008. In the same time, its assets under advice and management have grown to more than £50 million – and through its 13 full fiduciary clients, Cardano runs more than £8 billion. Performance is also essential and since inception, Cardano has outperformed the average liability benchmark of its clients by around 1.9% per year net of fees. It estimates the average UK plan has underperformed by 2.7% in the same period.
With 32 mandates won in the year to the end of March 2016, Mercer took more than any other in the European fiduciary management market and increased its assets by £8.5 billion, the company said. This marked a 28% increase in assets. The company said in its submission: “Continuing to innovate and take performance opportunities as they arise, has led to an average funding improvement of 1% and a reduction in funding volatility of 3%, relative to our clients’ previous strategies.”
Client service is at the heart of Russell’s fiduciary management offering, the firm said, and it picked up five new mandate wins, worth a total of £400 million while reporting no client losses, in the 12 months to the end of May 2016. It has also expanded relationships it held with existing clients. Russell has tried to strip away the “over-complication” that can accompany pensions and provide “clear, real-time communication and fiduciary-focused education that is accessible to all”. It has communicated with pension clients through blog posts and a series of training sessions, which qualified for Continuing Professional Development and are accredited by the Pensions Management Institute.