BankMuscat targets pension growth

09 November 2001

BankMuscat, the sultanate's largest retail lender, has formed a strategic partnership with UK-based William M Mercerto provide advisory and consultancy services for local pension funds. The new venture is aimed at helping private and public fund managers redesign their asset portfolios and develop new investment strategies to finance pension schemes due to mature after 2005.

Mercer is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companiesof the US, one of the world's largest insurance services and investment management firms, with a market capitalisation of $34,000 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Mercer will provide technical input and actuarial advice and review existing investment structures.

It is estimated that more than $3,000 million in funds are under management in the sultanate. All Omani private sector employees contribute 5 per cent of their income into a pension scheme and their employers a further 9 per cent. The country's biggest policies are the Public Authority for Social Insurance and the Civil Service Employees' Pension Fund. Other funds include the Ministry of Defence Pension Fund and the Petroleum Development Oman Pension Fund.

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