Illinois State Universities Retirement System, Champaign, issued an RFP in a search for emerging markets debt managers to manage a total of $500 million.
It is the first move by SURS, which oversees $16.9 billion in defined benefit assets, to allocate specifically to the asset class.
It hasn't determined how many managers it could hire.
SURS is seeking active, long-only, liquid emerging markets debt investment management services using U.S. dollar and local currencies, according to the RFP.
NEPC, the pension fund's investment consultant, is assisting in the search.
The proposal is available on SURS' website.
Proposals are due Aug. 13. A hiring decision is expected on Dec. 11.
Daniel L. Allen, chief investment officer of SURS, said funding would come from a reallocation.