Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) has moved a step closer to investing in global infrastructure by hiring its first fund-of-funds manager for the asset class.

The world’s largest pension fund said it had awarded the mandate to StepStone Infrastructure & Real Assets and has appointed Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company as gatekeeper.

The announcement follows a call for applications from infrastructure and real estate multi-managers in April 2017.

The ¥157trn (€1.17trn) pension fund is yet to announce its first global real estate fund-of-funds manager. Last month, it revealed it had chosen Mitsubishi UFJ Trust for domestic real estate.

GPIF’s president Norihiro Takahashi told fund managers in Australia in October that infrastructure was a key part of its new alternatives strategy.

Yukihiko Ito, managing partner of Japanese placement agency Asterisk Realty, who has been tracking GPIF’s moves into alternative investments, said announcements regarding the global real estate fund-of-funds mandate was expected to be made soon.