UNITED STATES - Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund is to conduct a search next month for a $150m (€122.7m) investment in core open-ended commingled funds.

According to pension fund officials, its investment consultant, Callan Associates, believes the core sector is where some strong investment opportunities will be available over the next couple of years.

Callan will help the fund undertake a request for proposal (RFP) to find a number of open-ended core funds, although no timetable for the process has been established.

The pension fund has already had some exposure to core open-ended funds, including the Prime Property Fund managed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate and BlackRock Granite Fund run by BlackRock Realty.

Illinois Municipal is below its target allocation to real estate by more than half. It has invested $430m in the asset class at the end of March 2010, but its 6% target will enable it to invest £1.9bn in total.

The pension fund is looking to invest in several US real estate real estate sectors, and will consider value-added strategies as well as core ones.

Illinois Municipal has Security Capital as its real estate investment trust (REIT) manager. There are no current plans to increase its REIT exposure.