UNITED STATES - Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association has approved a search to hire up to eight independent fiduciaries to work with the pension fund in assessing co-investment real estate opportunities.

LACERA believes independent fiduciaries will come into play when the pension fund considers a co-investment in both commingled funds the pension fund has not already made a commitment to and those funds which invest outside the United States.

The search will be handled by LACERA real estate staff and a final decision is then likely sometime in early 2009.

The pension fund is said to be looking for firms that have expertise in analysing investment opportunities in the US, Europe and Asia.

LACERA's planning is to use a two-fiduciary practice when looking at deals, where real estate staff act as one of the fiduciaries and the new hire will fill the other role, and both fiduciaries must then concur on any co-investment to proceed.

An independent fiduciary would not be used where the pension fund is already committed to a commingled fund because it considers the existing manager, with which it has a relationship, to be another fiduciary.

The pension fund has not established at this time how much capital will be allocated for these co-investments but the strategy has been in place since April 2007.

LACERA had $38.1bn in total plan assets to the end of July and real estate investments comprised 11.3% of the assets, against the current targeted allocation to real estate of 10%.