UK - Middlesbrough Borough Council has issued a tender for a manager to take responsibility for the direct property portfolio of its local government pension scheme.

The £2bn (€2.5bn) Teeside Pension Scheme, which consists of around 65 employer bodies and more than 54,000 members, is searching for a property investment manager to handle a contract valued at £1.75m, for a property portfolio estimated at £92m.

Details of the tender notice revealed the contract is for a five-year period, with the option of a further one year extension, and would require the successful applicant to manage the scheme's direct property portfolio. 

Figures from the pension scheme's latest annual report for 2006/07 showed the scheme allocated around 7% - approximately £140m - of its assets to property at that time, with the investments valued at just over £97,000 at the end of March 2007.

Middlesbrough revealed it expects to invite between five and seven managers to compete for the contract, with the choice of applicant depending on the submission which is most "economically advantageous". 

The deadline for applications for the tender closes on July 18 2008, and the invitations to participate in the final process will be dispatched by August 4.

Elsewhere, the trustees of the House of Fraser, James Beattie and Jenners pension schemes have appointed Hewitt Associates to provide actuarial and investment advice.  
The three schemes became a common trustee company in December 2006 and currently oversee combined assets of more than £400m, for around 20,000 members.

Hewitt revealed that as it had previously been the adviser to the House of Fraser scheme it would continue with its current investment strategy, while at the same time developing an ongoing strategy for the other two schemes.   

John McLachlan, chairman of House of Fraser Trustees Limited, said: "Since we combined the three schemes under one structure, we have been looking to appoint a single adviser in order to gain the most consistency and efficiency."

"Hewitt provided good insight into the ways in which we can harmonise practices across the schemes as well as innovative thinking about the way we can achieve our investment objectives."

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