UK - The Environment Agency has begun a search for a firm to manage the administration of its two local government pension funds.

The funds, worth approximately £1.5bn (€1.85bn) in total, are seeking a third-party administrator to provide "fully integrated, innovative and cost-effective outsourced pension fund administration service" for the 44,000 members of its two funds.

The contract will last five years, but there is the option to renew it for another one to four years, states the tender notice.

Firms are required to demonstrate they have evidence of "suitable experience of managing similar outsourced pension fund administration services to other large public or private sector pension funds….in the last five years" and applications must be received by July 14, 2008.

At the same time, Somerset County Council has revealed it is expanding the alternative investment strategy of its pension fund as officials are looking for a fund of funds private equity manager.

A tender notice just issued says the pension fund is willing to invest £30m (€37.5m) with an active fund of funds private equity manager.

Little other information is given at this stage, but officials require applications to be made by July 22, and requests to participate will then be dispatched by September 4.

This is just the latest tender to be issued by the pension fund, as its investment committee last month revealed it is seeking a global equity markets manager to look after A £30m mandate. (See earlier IPE story: Somerset tenders £30m GEM mandate)