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Merseyside reviews £320m unconstrained bonds

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  • Merseyside reviews £320m unconstrained bonds

UK - Merseyside pension scheme has issued a tender notice for two fixed income managers to run unconstrained sterling broad market mandates equivalent to 8% of the fund's assets.

The £3.7bn (€4.1bn) pension scheme, administered by Wirral Borough Council, currently employs Legal & General and Schroders to run the fixed income part of its portfolio.

However, members of Wirral's pension committee were advised in January to start a tender process for fixed income managers as part of a scheduled review of the bond mandates. (See earlier IPE article: Merseyside awards equity roles and moves fixed income)

The council is now offering two unconstrained active bond mandates for up to 4% of the fund's total assets, valued at around £160m each, which will be benchmarked against a sterling broad market index or a fixed 50% gilts, 50% corporates benchmark.

Wirral also confirmed a "range of performance targets will be considered between 1-2% pa (gross)" for the three-year contract the successful managers will have to work to.

The search for bond managers, which is being advised on by Hymans Robertson, follows the start of an earlier search last week for a number of providers to set up a transition management panel. (See earlier IPE article: Merseyside tenders for transition manager panel)

However, it revealed Legal & General, which currently acts as a transition manager and also runs a passive pooled assets mandate alongside the active bonds portfolio, is anticipated to remain in this role for UK and European equities "as these assets are under their management at present and therefore this will be the most cost effective solution".

Wirral confirmed the appointments of new managers will be based on the most economically-advantageous in a range of criteria, while committee members were told the tender process should take around six months with the successful managers appointed in June 2009.

The closing date for tender submissions is 23 March 2009.

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