UK– The £775m (€1,119m) Worcestershire County Council pension fund is to issue a RFP next week to find managers for six new portfolios as it moves from balanced to specialist management.

The switch is a result of the fund’s regular three-year review and current market conditions. Says a spokeswoman: “the downturn in the markets means that the fund can no longer achieve in balanced mandates the level of returns it had grown accustomed to.”

Gartmore Investment Management and Schroders currently manage the fund’s assets in two equal balanced mandates comprising both equities and fixed income.

The fund’s spokeswoman says the change has nothing to do with performance levels and that both management firms will be invited to tender for one or more of the mandates on offer.

The new investment strategy splits the fund into six new portfolios:
•US active equities
•UK active equities
•European active equities
•Far East active equities
•US, UK and European passive equities
•global fixed income.

The spokeswoman says the size of each brief has yet to be determined and that the fund will be looking for a global custodian for its assets at the same time. She says the fund hopes to have the new strategy completed by November.

The council is not using a consultant in its manager search, as it has an in-house financial adviser.