LACERA to drop EII Capital following key departures

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Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association is dropping EII Capital Management from a $163m listed real estate account because of staff turnover.

The pension fund has decided to liquidate the account following the departure of portfolio managers, according to a board meeting document.

Managing director and portfolio manager for global real estate securities James Rehlaender has left, along with senior analyst and co-portfolio manager for Europe Peter Nieuwland. Senior analyst and co-portfolio manager for Asia Suang Eng Tsan has also resigned.

The departures follow the decision by Schroders to bring the management of listed real estate funds – previously run by EII Capital Management – in-house. Rehlaender was manager of the Schroder ISF Global Property Securities, the Schroder Global Property Income Maximiser and the Schroder Global Property Securities.

According to documents, EII Capital Management proposed managing the account – which focuses on global markets outside the US – via internal promotions and new hires. It was proposed that the former co-portfolio manager responsible for the US would take over as global portfolio manager.

EII Capital Management declined to comment.

The document shows that the termination of the contract will have nothing to do with performance.

LACERA had hired EII in May of 2008 with an initial allocation of $100m.

The account underperformed by 115bps during the first quarter of 2014 and by 257bps in the second quarter, but it has matched or exceeded the benchmark over three and five-year time periods, and since inception. The benchmark used for the portfolio is the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Ex US index.

The pension fund is planning to liquidate the account and proposes employing BlackRock’s transition management group.

Over the next three months, LACERA will conduct a strategic review of the pension fund’s international real estate programme to determine whether continued exposure to global non-US public real estate securities is merited.

If it decides to maintain the exposure, a search for a replacement manager will be conducted.

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