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Searches and Hires

Illinois SURS plans searches for consultants, options strategy manager

Illinois State Universities Retirement System, Champaign, is searching for a general investment consultant for its $18 billion defined benefit plan and $2.1 billion defined contribution plan, said a SURS spokeswoman in an email.

The search is being conducted due to a requirement that consulting services go out to bid every five years. Current consultant NEPC is invited to rebid.

An RFP for a firm to provide general consulting and potentially specialty consulting services for the DB and DC plans was initially issued in July. That RFP was withdrawn with the expectation that separate RFPs for general consulting and specialty consulting services would eventually be issued. NEPC is currently SURS' only consultant.

The general consulting RFP is available on the retirement system's​ website. Proposals are due by 4:30 p.m. CST on Nov. 21. A hiring decision is expected on Feb. 1.

The retirement system also plans to issue an RFP by the end of October for an options-based strategy manager, the spokeswoman said. The anticipated allocation size is 2%, with funding expected to come from hedge funds.

Once approved, that RFP is also expected to be posted on SURS' website. The spokeswoman declined to provide further information on the search

In other news, SURS hired Matarin Capital Management and Denali Advisors to run a total of $150 million in domestic equity for the pension plan, a news release from the pension fund stated. Matarin will run $100 million in a small-cap core strategy; Denali will run $50 million in large-cap value.

Funding will come from the pension fund's existing domestic equity portfolio; no managers were terminated.

SURS also hired Channing Capital Management to run $100 million in a smidcap value equity strategy. Funding will from Channing's midcap value equity strategy, in which the system had approximately $187 million invested before the transfer.