EUROPE - The £1.2bn (€1.3bn) Lincolnshire County Council Pension Fund has awarded Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners a £150m alternatives mandate.

The search, conducted with JLT Investment Consulting, led to three candidates being interviewed before Morgan Stanley was confirmed.

Jo Ray, financial advisor for pensions and investments at Lincolnshire County Council Pension Fund, said one of the encouraging aspects of the search was the time JLT took to understand the targets the local government pension scheme (LGPS) was trying to achieve.

“Early in the process,” she said, “we identified that part of our expected return from this portfolio should be derived from illiquidity premia over the long term, and therefore we view this manager appointment as being very much a long-term partnership.”

However, Ray voiced her frustration in the most recent issue of IPE that managers would often approach her with unusual ideas prior to a tender, but these were not submitted when the alternatives portfolio was advertised in April.

“We got a lot of responses that looked to promise the kind of returns we were after by the most conservative means,” she told Brendan Maton. “We sent out a brief asking for people’s best ideas after all those interesting conversations. But in the tendering process, managers do not want to be seen as an outlier.”

Meanwhile, Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund is looking to appoint one or several equity managers for an emerging market equity portfolio.

The mandate, worth as much as £125m, will be benchmarked against the FTSE All World Emerging Markets index, with the scheme expecting returns to beat the benchmark by 2%.

Interested parties are asked to contact the council by 31 December and can complete a response for proposal via its online tender portal.

In other news, Irish energy business EirGrid is looking to award a contract for pension consultancy, administration and actuarial services.

Interested parties should complete a pre-qualification questionnaire, which can be obtained from EirGrid’s procurement office, by 12 January.

Finally, the £1.8bn Avon Pension Fund is withdrawing its recent tender for an active currency hedge, set to offset the scheme’s £500m exposure to equity denominated in US dollars, euros and Japanese yen.

The scheme said this was for a technical reason and that it would announce a new tender procedure in the near future.