The roughly $7 billion Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System (LASERS) Board of Trustees decided last week to award Marathon Asset Management a nearly $250 million MBS mandate, system CIO Bobby Beale told ASR's sister publication, Investment Management Weekly.

The New York-based firm, which has offices in Singapore and London, beat out three other competing firms for the contract at its most recent Aug. 26-27 meeting, Beale said.

Previously, at its June 24-25 meeting, Beale told IMW that Marathon, Alliance Bernstein, Angelo Gordon & Co., and Zais Group were named as the four remaining finalists for the prior TCW Group-managed portfolio.

At its Feb. 25 Board meeting, the Societe Generale subsidiary was terminated by trustees due to personnel changes. Also on an interim basis, JPMorgan was tapped to manage the Los Angeles-based firm's opportunistic and core contract at the meeting until a replacement is found. An RFP was released promptly thereafter.

As part of the search and hire process, all four finalists were present at the Baton Rouge-based plan's most recent Board meeting. Trustees, staff and LASERS consultant NEPC interviewed the remaining firms, this according to the meeting's agenda.

In a Thursday email, Beale highlighted that Marathon's commitment is still pending contract negotiations, but added that it was tapped because of its familiarity and skills with the strategy.

"After thorough due diligence and an on-site visit to the company, we felt that they had a very experienced team for this unique asset class and will provide the most expertise," Beale said.

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