REAL ESTATE - The $3.9bn (€3.1bn) Chicago Policemen’s Annuity & Benefit Fund has selected Cleveland-based Courtland Partners as its first ever real estate consultant.

The fund made the decision at its board meeting in June as it moved to re-enter the real estate investment arena earlier this year.

Executive director John Gallagher said: “We felt that we needed to work with a firm that specializes in real estate.

“This would give us the best chance to put together a strong real estate portfolio.” The fund has Ennis Knupp + Associates of Chicago as its general consultant.

Chicago Policemen made a decision earlier this year to re-enter real estate for the first time since the early 1990s. Gallagher said: “It was our opinion that this asset class gives us the opportunity to achieve more diversification in our portfolio and produce higher investment returns that many other asset classes.”

In April the scheme established a long-term real estate allocation of 5% - be funded by reducing the allocation for fixed income from 35% to 30%.

It has decided to initially allocated $100m to real estate with an additional $100m could be invested down the road.

The fund has not invested any of the capital yet.

Courtland Partners will discuss an overall investment plan for real estate at the fund’s next board meeting on July 25, although no commitments will be made at this meeting.

The first commitments could be made in August. The pension will start out with a commingled fund strategy for real estate.