UNITED STATES - Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a global natural resources investment mandate worth $900m (€570.6m).

Mike Travaglini, executive director at Mass PRIM, said the pension fund is looking to hire one or more managers who had at least $500m in assets in natural resources by the end of 2007.

"Part of the reason for creating this RFP was for our overall portfolio needs. Last fall, we sold a portion of our timber portfolio for around $1.7bn. We now think it's time to put some capital into this property type again."

Agriculture investing will be a significant part of the strategy for natural resources and buying timberland assets will be a good part of the strategy.

Transactions will be considered both in the United States and on an international basis but the return hurdle requirement is managers must beat the consumer price index (CPI) by at least 500 basis points.

Mass PRIM, which now has total assets of $51.7bn, decided to sell a portion of its timber assets last year to take advantage of capital amassed in this property type but the downside is it is hard to replace these assets with new acquisitions as pension fund officials thinks timber is still priced high in today's market.

The assets sold last year had been managed by The Campbell Group based in Portland, Oregon but Mass PRIM still has Forest Investment Advisors on the books as its other timber manager.