A group of 24 local authorities, 13 funds and 40 managers have come together to propose how to reduce fees when pooling investments.
Under the name Project POOL, the group produced a summary report with recommendations to the government, on the best way to pool investments across local government pension schemes (LGPS). The analysis covers £140bn of around £200bn LGPS assets.
It compared different pooling models as well as the most efficient ways of accessing the range of assets used by LGPS funds.
The report set out proposals of long term cost savings that will meet the criteria set out by the government: scale, savings, governance and access to infrastructure.
The group also suggested that funds agree the rules by which their pool will be run. For instance, they may agree on the pool's approach to governance, attitudes on the use of active, passive external and in-house management, and what the pool will and will not do in the short and long term.
In terms of how pools will work in practice, Hymans Robertson, which co-produced the report, said individual funds would remain responsible for their own liabilities, for setting employer contribution rates and their own investment strategy and asset allocation decisions.
John Wright, the firm's head of public sector, added: "Pool responsibilities should include running any legal structures required, creating access to the asset classes needed by the funds, accessing those assets efficiently, monitoring investment costs and performance and making manager hire and fire decisions.
"We're likely to see different combinations of internal and external management across pools, and different asset types available in each. One size won't fit all."
Mark Wynn, head of finance at Cheshire Pension Fund, said: "The analysis gives us a solid foundation on which to base those discussions. It's our hope that it will be useful to the whole LGPS community, not just those involved in the project."
The document follows chancellor George Osborne’s announcement in merging 89 LGPS in to six British wealth funds, as part of the government's strategy to save cost while maintaining overall investment performance.
Local authorities who participated in the group:
LGSS (owned by Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire county councils)
London Borough of Hackney
Tyne & Wear