UK - The £6bn (€7.1bn) West Midlands Authorities Pension Fund is seeking advice on the formulation of its latest investment benchmark, which it reviews annually.

The local government pension scheme's last strategic investment allocation benchmark (SIAB), devised with Morgan Stanley Investment Management in January 2009, made a 60% allocation to equities, including 10% in private equity.

Fixed interest accounted for 15% of the benchmark's medium-term asset allocation, while 'complementary' asset classes - including property, emerging market debt, commodities, infrastructure and absolute return strategies - made up for the remaining 25%.

In deciding the parameters for its new SIAB, West Midlands asks that any applying parties have experience in devising such benchmarks, with at least six such projects undertaken over the last three years.

In addition, it asks for educational details of the staff that would collaborate on the new SIAB and how they would relate to such undertakings.

The pension scheme expects the work to take no longer than two months.

On deciding their own benchmark parameters, chief investment officer Judy Saunders said: "We feel it needs to be more fluid than the traditional benchmark that is put into place every three years."

Funds may need to re-assess, and possibly revise, their benchmarks more frequently if market conditions become more challenging, she added.

Interested parties have until 12 November to request additional information from Wolverhampton City Council and must submit all applications by 22 November.

Meanwhile, Lancashire County Council is seeking a global custodian for its £3.5bn pension fund.

Lancashire noted it was a routine undertaking, with current custodian BNY Mellon Asset Servicing's contract approaching the end of its lifetime.

The council asks that any applicant have a long-standing credit rating no lower than AA or A from two of its three preferred ratings agencies - Moody's, Standard & Poor's or Fitch.

The custodians will be required to perform the usual services ranging from proxy voting through private equity administration, cash management and tax reclaims, with a four-year contract set to commence in the first quarter of next year.

Interested parties in the contract, which may be extended for an additional three years after satisfactory completion, should apply by 2 November.