UK public pension pool Border to Coast Pensions Partnership is seeking to hire a manager for a £3bn (€3.4bn) UK real estate investment mandate as it progresses with a plan to set up a direct property fund.

The £60bn asset manager of 11 local government pension schemes (LGPS) has launched a search for a specialist manager to support the development and management of the UK Real Estate Fund, a fund which holds around £1.75bn of direct properties at launch.

Border to Coast said it expects the UK real estate fund to grow to over £3bn with further investments from its LGPS partner funds.

Alongside the main UK real estate fund, the asset manager is also launching the Gateway fund, a second fund which will hold indirect assets, such as real estate investment trusts and large UK-balanced real estate funds.

Gateway fund will provide the partner funds with “indirect access to the UK real estate market pending the allocation of capital into the main fund” for investments in direct properties, Border to Coast said.

The process to select a manager will be run by Border to Coast with support from MJ Hudson. The appointed manager will work with Border to Coast’s internal investment team to develop and implement the investment strategy, source real estate opportunities across the UK and provide asset management services for real estate assets.

“The manager will embed active stewardship and ESG considerations into the investment process including both portfolio construction and asset management,” Border to Coast said.

Alistair Smith, the head of real estate at Border to Coast, said: “UK real estate is a fundamental asset class for our partner funds’ wider investment strategies. This is an exciting opportunity to help build a bespoke, direct property portfolio that offers exposure to high quality real estate investments.

“We’re looking to build a long-term, trusted relationship, and look forward to speaking with specialists in UK real estate that can help us achieve this.”

The launch of the UK fund is part of Border to Coast’s development of a £5bn real estate proposition, which includes a global real estate offering, for its partner funds.

Last month, the UK public pension pool appointed The Townsend Group as a consultant to support the development of the global real estate investment plan. 

Two global propositions, a core and a value-add/opportunistic offering, are expected to launch in early next year.

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