UK - Hampshire County Council is looking to almost double its pension fund's exposure to UK commercial property over the next year to meet the 8% target allocation agreed before the market downturn.

Hampshire told IPE its earlier plan to expand into UK commercial property, agreed in 2007, will move forward over the next 12 months as it seeks to increase its exposure from 4.3% to 8% of the fund.

Falls in the property market since July 2007 meant the council's £2.7bn (€3.1bn) pension scheme has been "holding fire until the market is as low as it gets", and now it appears to be getting near to this point the scheme has been advised it would be "timely to jump into that market over the next year".

However the council pointed out any investment decisions, particularly in terms of timing, would be at the discretion of the property managers, with the scheme currently employing CB Richard Ellis for UK direct/indirect property and Aberdeen Property Investors for European direct/indirect property. 

Latest figures showed the value of the pension fund had improved in the second quarter from £2.4bn at the end of March 2009 to £2.7bn three months later.