Iowa Public Employees Retirement System is to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for a listed real estate mandate, which could result in the replacement of incumbent manager Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management (DeAWM).

The pension fund is reviewing the management of its US real estate investment trust (REIT) strategy due to concerns over staff turnover and recent investment performance.

Karl Koch, CIO at Iowa PERS, told IP Real Estate that the decision to issue an RFP was mainly prompted by the recent departure of a senior analyst/portfolio manager at DeAWM’s real estate securities business (formerly RREEF Securities).

The pension fund had already placed the company on a watch list in August 2013 for one year due to staff turnover.

Iowa PERS would not confirm the identity of the individuals that it said had left and DeAWM declined to comment.

DeAWM has been managing the pension fund’s REIT portfolio since 1996. It is currently valued at approximately $350m (€254m).

Koch told IP Real Estate that recent investment performance had also been a factor in prompting the RFP. The incumbent REIT manager had met performance objectives over the long term, but the performance over the past year had been below the benchmark, he said.

The benchmark used for the portfolio is the Wilshire US REIT index.

Iowa PERS plans to issue the RFP at the beginning of May and will be conducting the search with its investment consultant, Wilshire Associates. It will be available on both the pension fund’s and consultant’s websites.

The final decision could be made in three to six months depending on the number of proposals received.

The pension fund will be considering companies that have either passive or active REIT products.

It has not been determined whether more capital will be awarded to a replacement manager.