The master custody contract for the giant ARIA public sector scheme has gone out to tender, at a time when BNP Paribas Securities Services has won a new funds manager client and perhaps two fiduciary funds on the trot. The chief operating officer (and acting chief executive) of the $16 billion fund, Peter Carrigy-Ryan, confirmed that a review of the global master custody contract – held for many years by JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services – was underway, and would be conducted internally. The review had originally been scheduled for the 2008/09 financial year, but was postponed due to the global financial crisis.

A contender for ARIA’s business will no doubt be BNP Paribas Securities Services (BNP PSS), which has just won two (and possibly three) pieces of business following reviews by independent investment admin consultant, Drew Vaughan of Dymonds Foulds Vaughan. The French-owned shop last month won the right to service $1 billion industry fund, legalsuper, away from National Asset Servicing. BNP PSS is also understood to be a strong contender for another National master custody client, the $1 billion Motor Accidents Insurance Board of Tasmania.

The board of that fund is understood to be in due diligence following receipt of Vaughan’s report, and is yet to come to a final decision on its future custodian. BNP PSS will also become the backoffice for Arnhem Investment Management, the former ABN Amro Asset Management Australian equities team under George Clapham. BNP PSS will replace an internal backoffice arrangement. Vaughan said that BNP Paribas SS had been presenting a “good service and price proposition”, although he stressed they had not been the cheapest option in the various tenders. He said the custodian seemed to have a “renewed focus” under the local leadership of Pierre Jond.

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