Taiwan's Bureau of Labour Insurance has accepted bids from 30 fund-management companies to compete for $865 million worth of international investment mandates for its Labour Insurance Fund.

In the first category, a $150 million US equities mandate, it has drawn up a shortlist of nine candidates: ABN Amro Asset Management, AllianceBernstein, Allianz Global Investors' RCM unit, Blackrock, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Deutsche Asset Management, ING investment Management, State Street Global Advisors and UBS Global Asset Management.

There is also a $100 million European equities mandate up for grabs and here the BLI has picked 11 candidates: Allianz's subsidiary Nicholas Applegate, Baring Asset Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Deutsche Asset Management, Fidelity, GAM, HSBC's Halbis Partners, Invesco, Pioneer Investments, Schroder Investment Management and UBS Global Asset Mangement.

Japan equities is the smallest mandate of all on offer, worth just $65 million, but has still managed to attract a nine-strong shortlist. Notably, domestic Japanese managers have done well here, with Daiwa SB investments, Mizuho's DLIBJ Asset Management (Diam), Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management, Nikko Asset Management and Nomura Asset Management in the frame. They are joined in the running by AIG Global investment Corporation, ING Investment Management, Invesco and Societe Generale Asset Management.

Arguably the investment committee of the BLI's most difficult job will be to pick a single manager, from a giant shortlist of 15 candidates, to run $150 million in global emerging markets (ex-mainland China) equities. Names in the frame that have not also received invitations to pitch for other asset classes are Aberdeen Asset Management, JPMorgan Asset Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Principal Global Investors and Wellington Management.

Committee members will have more time to catch their breath when pondering who to pick to manage the two $200 million mandates available in global, passive fixed income. Some predictable participants in the pitching process are Allianz's Pimco, Blackrock, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and State Street Global Advisors.

Overall, Allianz comes out as the most succesful company in the open-tender process. Its affiliates have been invited to submit in four out of the five asset classes on offer. SSgA has has a chance in three categories. BNP Paribas, which is up in two categories, is a notable inclusion, as it has recently announced plans to tie up with a bank to sell funds in Taiwan where, to date, it has no presence.

Candidates had to conform to strict criteria to be considered for the mandates, with the BLI demanding annual investment total returns of 250 basis points above each asset class's respective benchmark.

Submissions were only accepted from asset managers with a track record of at least three years (by September 2006) in each asset class and which run global institutional assets of more than $5 billion which, according to one fund management executive, has made the shortlist selection process a foregone conclusion in many asset classes.

Fund management houses have already been pitching the BLI. All 30 managers will have been seen by end of play Wednesday and after negotiations the final announcement on who has received which mandate will be made on June 21.