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Alternative Market Briefing

UN pension fund is contemplating more investments in alternatives

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva:

Last week, the United Nations (UN) issued an EOI (request for expression of interest), saying the Investment Management Division of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund was "seeking qualified banks to participate in a competitive solicitation for the provision of comprehensive Global Custody and Master Record Keeping services for the investments of the Fund."

The Fund now has over $54bn in assets under management (on behalf of more than 190,000 participants) primarily invested in publicly-traded equities and fixed income securities, with a small part in specialty funds such as real estate, emerging and frontier markets, private equity, infrastructure, and commodities.

What is relevant here to fund managers is that, according to the EOI, the fund is currently authorized to trade ETF contracts; it does not directly trade OTC derivatives or engage in short trading, but may do so in the future. Furthermore, it is now considering investments in other alternative assets such as futures/derivatives, hedge fund of funds, other real assets, and may take securities lending and collateral management into consideration. It is also authorized to hire external fund managers; currently its small cap equity investments are the only ones being externally managed.

Like CalPERS’ decision to move in the opposite direction, this is more symbolic than anything, ......................

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