MIDDLE EAST - The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investments and Export Credits is conducting a review of potential providers for Shariah-compliant investments in 11 different sectors.

Using IPE-Quest, the Islamic investor has stressed it is only conducting a review at this stage and may not award mandates, but the total sum to be invested across all 11 Quests - in real estate, hedge funds, Sukuk, Ijara and commodities - is a potential $230m (€155.8m).

Official details of all 11 reviews are being issued via IPE-Quest this afternoon but are on broadly the same terms, as they require potential providers to be Shariah-compliant, and state performance to December 31, 2007, gross of fees, before the February 29 deadline.

More specifically, QN900 is a $50m review of Sukuk, more generally known as Islamic bond, providers. ‘Sukuk' tends to be similar in structure to asset-backed securities but the issuer is obliged to pay the bondholder 100% of the redemption amount as well as some form of regular distribution, regardless of how the underlying vehicles perform.

A $10-20m review for a global Ijara provider has also been issued under QN899. ‘Ijara' is essentially a lease-to-own agreement which allows the investor to buy an item and sell it to the finance provider, on the agreement it will buy it at the end of a set term. In the intervening period the 'buyer' pays a sum - made up of part-purchase cost and part-rental - to the finance provider. It is usually applied in most cases to property purchases.

The remaining nine reviews follow the same terms as described above, and each class has a potential $10m-20m to invest in:

Global commodities Global real estate US real estate UK real estate Eurozone real estate Global hedge funds US hedge funds UK hedge funds Eurozone commodities.

Go to IPE Quest for more information.

In a completely separate event, the Northern Ireland Central Procurement Directorate intends to conduct a search to find a pensions administration provider for its teachers' pensions.

Details of the "prior information" notice issued on the European Tender Database reveals its existing IT systems have not been updated since 1998 so a "hosted service" arrangement is required to administer and pay the teachers' pensions, as well as improve efficiency from September 1, 2009.