US - The Teachers' Retirement System of Illinois (TRS) has placed BlackRock, which manages US$1.6bn in fixed income assets for the fund, on watch citing "organisational concerns".
The decision by the board follows closely on the heels of BlackRock’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch’s investment management arm for $1.1bn.
A spokesperson for TRS said the move was a precautional measure while the fund awaited further details of the implications of the change.
“The decision was made because of the merger with Merrill Lynch as we do not know how that will effect our assets,” she said.
In addition, the board of trustees at the $35.4bn pension fund issued a request for proposal for transition managers to assist in “portfolio restructurings and other transition activity”.
The board hired Kuhns & Associates, replacing Callan Associates, as its general investment consultant. As part of the mandate, the firm will provide “asset allocation studies, investment manager research and performance reporting”, TRS said.
The consulting brief was re-tendered after Callan’s contract expired in December last year.
Meanwhile, Lehman Brothers Asset Management of Chicago has been appointed to manage a $650m fixed income enhanced index mandate. Funding for the mandate is a reallocation from the existing fixed income index account managed by State Street Global Advisors.
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