UK - The Scottish Borders Council pension fund is searching for two investment managers for a global equity and an alternative assets portfolio with a combined value of £80m.

The local government pension scheme, following a review of its investment strategy, said it had decided a greater diversification of its portfolio was needed, while maintaining its bias toward growth assets.

It plans to implement the new portfolios, and therefore its new investment strategy, in the first half of 2011.

The £46m high alpha or unconstrained global equity mandate will account for 14% of its current assets.

The council notes its preferred benchmark is the MSCI All Country World index, which could also be used during the construction of the portfolio if the appointed investment manager so chooses.

Any manager wishing to only use the benchmark as a measure of performance and not use it as a basis for the construction of an unconstrained portfolio should also apply.

Both pooled investments and segregated accounts will be considered, with a minimum 3% outperformance of the benchmark, minus fees, required.

The second mandate, for an alternative multi-asset portfolio, should not include any exposure to publicly listed equities, with the £33m investment targeting a 4% outperformance of the London Interbank Offered Rate benchmark.

However, managers wishing to propose alternative benchmarks, such as the retail price index, will be welcomed.

Scottish Borders added that both pooled funds and pooled funds of funds would be considered, with other suggestions for structured options welcomed.

Interested parties should apply by 17 December through the Public Contracts Scotland web portal.
In other news, Leeds Co-operative Society Limited Employees' Pension Fund, the Yorkshire Co-operatives Limited Employees' Superannuation Fund and the United Norwest Co-operatives Employees' Pension Fund will be investing in a new, diversified growth fund launched in March.

Mike Thorpe, pensions finance and risk controller at Co-operative Group, the scheme's sponsor, said: "RCM's dynamic, diversified growth strategy focuses on dynamic asset allocation and total return risk management, enabling a low correlation to equities."

Philip Dawes, head of sales and consultant relations at RCM, added that he was "extremely encouraged" that institutional investors had recognised the fund acted as a diversifier in its own right.

Finally, Müller Europe, which maintains the Wednesbury Pension Scheme, as well as the Ruston Bucyrus and MESL Pension Scheme, has signed up to a new virtual pension manager tool by Atkin & Co.

Atkin director Marian Elliott said there was a need for tools allowing pension funds to track all secretarial duties related to their scheme.

She added: "With the pensions landscape becoming ever more complex, it is imperative these processes be made as efficient as possible."