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The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation Board today announced it has appointed Mercer Investment Consulting to provide it with investment advice relating to the long-term asset allocation for the Fund and portfolio construction issues. The Board also announced that it will be appointing other investment advisors to provide second opinions on certain aspects of the asset allocation and portfolio construction process.

Mercer, which was established in New Zealand in 1982 and has offices in Auckland and Wellington, is a worldwide organisation that advises on US$1.2 trillion of investment assets. It is the principal investment advisor to two similar organisations to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund - the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (US$11billion) and the Irish National Pension Reserve Fund Commission (US$10billion).

Guardians' chairman, David May, said that the Board was impressed with the quality of firms and individuals it had interviewed. "The primary and secondary advisor structure will ensure the Board receives a wide range of advice and that will add to the strength of the decisions the Board makes," he said.

After the regular Guardians' Board meeting held yesterday, the Board announced it had interviewed its short-listed tax advisor and legal advisor candidates. Decisions as to which firms will be selected for those roles will be made in the next two weeks after deliberation on the interviews and reference checking had been complete. "Our advisor structure is coming together", Mr May said. "We are aiming to finalise the Chief Executive appointment in the next few weeks and to commence the foundation work for the important decisions on investment of the Fund".

The Board also announced is launching search processes for a global custodian and advisors to assist with investment manager selection.

The Board remains on track to begin investing the New Zealand Superannuation Fund in the third quarter of the year. The Fund is expected to hold approximately $1.9 billion at 30 June 2003.

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