San Francisco ERS picks Blackstone for $100m Asia allocation [corrected]

San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System is investing $100m (€84.4m) into the Blackstone Real Estate Partners Asia II commingled fund – the fifth time it has made a real estate commitment using a Blackstone vehicle.

The pension fund revealed the new commitment in a board meeting document, in which it also said it had put its $176m investment in the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust under review because of underperformance.

Blackstone Real Estate Partners is anticipating a total equity raise for its Asia II fund of $5bn, according to sources familiar with the company’s capital-raising activities.

San Francisco Employees is at least the third US public pension fund to make a similar-sized commitment to the Asia II fund, after moves by the Teachers’ Retirement Fund of the State of Illinois and Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

The Asia fund is opportunistic and uses many different strategies, including the purchase of existing assets as well as putting money into development opportunities.

Most of its capital will go into retail and industrial assets. It is open to buying single assets, portfolios, real estate operating companies and structuring debt investments.

It will target a variety of markets including China, India, Japan and Australia.

Meanwhile, the pension fund added one of its real estate fund managers to its “under review” list “for performance reasons”.

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, a $176m fund that invests in high quality multifamily mortgage-backed securities, underperformed the pension fund’s benchmark net of fees over three time periods.

The fund lagged the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index over one year (-0.38% versus -0.31%), three years (2.35% versus 2.48%), and five years (2.07% versus 2.21%).

But the pension fund said the fund had “been managed with a consistent approach for over 30 years” and had outperformed the index gross of fees over the five years ending 30 June 2017.

• A previous version of this article stated that the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust had underperformed the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index by 100 basis points

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