The $12 billion Workcover Authority of NSW is about to issue RFPs for a custody tender, joining the $11 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF) as a big institution currently testing the investment administration market.

Workcover’s head of operations, Steve Ingham, has indicated to several contenders that the issue of RFPs is imminent, and that the tender process will be advised by Mercer Sentinel Group, under principal Lounarda David. BNP Paribas Securities Services (BNPSS) is Workcover’s longstanding incumbent custodian. The review is a flow-on from the 2002 McKinsey report into Workcover’s design, which recommended the scheme’s previous six balanced funds be dissolved into one fund with sector-specialist investment managers. Meanwhile, RFPs were due last week for the second ever custody tender at the NZSF, which is being advised out of the UK by consultants Thomas Murray. NZSF is mandated to test the market for all its outsourced services every three years. BNPSS is the incumbent, after winning the initial tender for master custody services in 2003. BNPSS head of sales and relationship management, Chris Briant, said the number of custody tenders was increasing. “I can’t comment regarding specific processes, but what I can say is that the whole market is experiencing an increased rate of open-market tenders,”; he said. “;This reflects clients taking seriously their obligation to obtain the optimal solution for underlying stakeholders. Earlier this year one of our super clients went through an open market tender, electing to retain BNP Paribas, for example.”

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