Hymans Robertson Staff Pension Plan, London, halted plans to hire money managers, change an investment strategy and move to a multiemployer defined contribution arrangement due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Executives at the £70 million ($87.5 million) defined contribution plan for employees at the consulting firm were set to hire two managers for the growth phase of the £40 million default fund. The managers would have run assets in multifactor-based portfolios with an environmental, social and governance tilt, moving away from market cap-weighted index strategies, said Rona Train, senior investment consultant at Hymans Robertson and chairwoman of the governance committee for the retirement plan.
The move has been delayed until September. Ms. Train cited the volatility of asset prices as contributing to the delay. "We are looking for the most effective way for our members," she said.
The expected change in investment strategy for the growth phase of the default fund follows a growing interest by plan participants in ESG considerations, Ms. Train said. She declined to disclose whether managers had been selected.
Standard Life Investments runs the plan's assets according to a fund document as of Dec. 31. The firm used Vanguard's strategies to manage the plan's 54.6% exposure to developed markets equity and a 25.4% exposure to U.K. equity. A further 10.3% emerging markets equity allocation was run by iShares. The rest of the plan's default assets were invested in real estate.
Executives have also delayed a move to a master trust arrangement for the plan. It is currently run as a contract-based plan, which is typically provided to plan participants on an individual basis by an insurance company. Ms. Train declined to provide details of the selected master trust.