UNITED STATES - Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund is now in the process of looking to hire its first ever real estate consultant.

According to pension fund officials, the retirement system feels it needs to hire a real estate consultant to guide them with their move into the real estate asset class over the next few years.

At this time the pension fund does not have a specialist consultant,  but the final selections is likely to happen sometime over the summer.

The pension fund has been working on its real estate investments until now with its general consultant, Mercer Investment Consulting, assisted by principal Allison Yager who looks after real estate guidance on the Indiana PERF account.

At the end of May, the pension fund had a real estate portfolio valued at $119m (€76.8m), or 0.8% of its total assets of $15.75bn .

The pension fund has established a targeted allocation for real estate of 3% but the amount which could be invested in real estate has a range of 0-5%.

The pension fund's most recent activity was to commit $150m into two opportunity funds in May of this year, split as $75m placements in both the Colony Credit Opportunity Fund and Walton Street Real Estate Fund VI. A capital call has yet to be asked of by either of these commingled funds.

Indiana PERF has already made investments in core open-ended commingled funds and public REITs, including the Prudential Property Investment Separate Account managed by Pramerica Real Estate Investors and the Prime Property Fund run by Morgan Stanley Real Estate.

The pension fund's public REIT managers are Invesco Real Estate and European Investors.