Essex County picks IFM, JPMorgan for infra

The £5bn pension has split the £100m allocation it put up for tender in November between two managers after receiving 22 offers.

The Essex County Council pension fund has awarded two infrastructure unlisted fund mandates totalling £100 million ($124 million; €117 million), equivalent to 2 percent of its assets.

After receiving 22 offers, the institution entrusted IFM Investors and JPMorgan Asset Management with £50 million each, according to a filing with the Tenders Electronic Daily, a supplement to the EU’s Official Journal. The statement added that the “contract is [not] likely to be sub-contracted”.

Essex County had initially given itself the option to commit the entire allocation to one manager.

“Fund managers should manage at least £500 million of infrastructure assets to be considered (either already deployed, committed to projects, or committed by investors to their strategy). Both open-ended and closed-ended solutions will be considered,” the pension said in its initial filing.

It added that it was not looking for listed infrastructure funds or fund of fund products and “infrastructure debt strategies may be considered as part of a broader solution but are unlikely to deliver a high enough return in isolation”.

Unusually, Essex County also disclosed its criteria for judging the offerings, though in fairly concise fashion, with “corporate capability”, “people”, “philosophy and process”, “fees and track record”, “suitability” each attributed a 20 percent weighting.

The pension, which manages £5 billion, has an infrastructure allocation of 3.24 percent.