US - The New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) has committed $300m (€239m) to the Lake Montauk Real Estate Fund, a fund of fund managed by Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors.

The transaction, completed late January, is the first fund-of-funds that the pension fund has invested in for its real estate portfolio and forms part of its "long-term value strategy" to invest in smaller domestic and international opportunities.

"We created this partnership between the Common Retirement Fund and Franklin Templeton as a vehicle to give us flexibility to respond to opportunities that might spring up. This is going to enable us to act a little quicker," said Robert Whalen, spokesman for NYSCRF.

The fund will focus on investing in all commercial properties, sole ownership properties, partnerships and equities.

The pension fund's target allocation for real estate is 6% and Whalen said the pension fund has met its target, although it is currently calculating the total value of the property portfolio and figures are due to be published at the end of the month.

Thomas DiNapoli, New York state comptroller, announced on Monday the NYSCRF would begin reporting its asset value on a quarterly basis rather than once a year to ensure transparency and accountability.

The property portfolio was valued at $7.9bn on 31 March 2008, and included real estate opportunity funds, affordable housing, mortgages and joint ventures, while the NYSCRF was valued at $121.9bn on 31 December 2008.

The private equity real estate investments included various Morgan Stanley, Westbrook and Blackstone funds.

No placement agents or intermediaries were used in the transaction involving the Lake Montuak Real Estate Fund.

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