Bristol (Conn.) City Retirement System issued an RFP for general consultant, confirmed Thomas O. Barnes Jr., city treasurer.
Merrill Lynch was the $580 million system's consultant for 35 years before the firm decided to stop consulting services to public pension funds, Mr. Barnes said. Beirne Wealth Consulting was named temporary consultant until a permanent replacement is hired. Beirne is run by John Beirne, who was the fund's consultant before he left Merrill Lynch. His company is invited to rebid.
The new consultant also will choose a custodial bank for the system. Fidelity Investments was hired as temporary custodian.
“We felt like a structure change to a smaller firm called on us to perform our proper due diligence,” Mr. Barnes said in a telephone interview about issuing the RFP.
The RFP is available on the city's website. Proposals are due March 2. Interviews are scheduled for March 26, with a recommendation anticipated on April 10.
The retirement system also is liquidating its $40 million in hedge fund investments that were on Merrill Lynch's platform, Mr. Barnes said. He anticipates searching for new managers after a new consultant is hired.
Separately, the fund committed $25 million to gold and private equity strategies in the last two months, Mr. Barnes said. In December, the system committed $10 million each to gold funds run by Tocqueville Asset Management and GAMCO. They are the first precious metals investment for the fund.
In January, the board approved committing $5 million to the Zephyr Peacock India private equity fund that invests in smaller companies. Zephyr already manages $10 million in emerging markets equity for the system.