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Univest has appointed Mercer Investment Consulting to provide manager research, monitoring and fund structure services for its multi-manager funds.

Mercer will also help to develop governance procedures and policies for Univest, a multi-country asset-pooling vehicle sponsored by Unilever. The innovative vehicle will be used by Unilever to enable pension funds in different countries to improve the governance and efficiency of their investment manager structures, in particular to help reduce manager risk and enhance expected returns.

Mercer was one of a number of third parties who formed a consortium to assist Unilever with the development of intellectual capital, design and implementation of its cross-border pooling vehicle. Mercer's involvement with the project stretches back four years to when Mercer was first asked by Unilever to complete a feasibility study on pooling assets.

"We are delighted to have been appointed to provide advice to Unilever's pooling vehicle," says Mark Walker, principal in Mercer Investment Consulting. "We have worked with Unilever over a number of years to help bring this leading edge product to fruition."

Divyesh Hindocha, Mercer Investment Consulting's global director of consulting, adds: "We expect that many multinationals will want to investigate the benefits of pooling pension fund assets from different countries. Our commitment to Unilever's pooling project has greatly enhanced our understanding of the complex issues involved in cross-border investing.'

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