Japan’s ¥156trn (€1.17trn) Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) has awarded its first global real estate mandate.

The world’s largest pension fund has announced the hire of CBRE Global Investment Partners to manage a global fund-of-funds account.

It has also appointed Asset Management One as gatekeeper for the account.

The mandate is one of the most anticipated in the real estate fund management industry and is part of the pension fund’s wider push into alternative investments.

GPIF is targeting a 5% allocation to real estate, infrastructure and equity, which would equate to ¥7.8trn in investments.

The appointment of CBRE Global Investment Partners, the multi-manager arm of CBRE Global Investors, comes several months after it hired its second global infrastructure fund-of-funds manager, StepStone Infrastructure & Real Assets.

In December 2017, GPIF hired Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation for its domestic real estate mandate.

The pension fund is targeting core real estate investments.

According to its annual report, published today, GPIF had built of a ¥8.1bn real estate exposure by the end of March 2018. It had invested in eight private real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Japan.

Yukihiko Ito, managing partner of Japanese placement agency Asterisk Realty, who has been tracking GPIF’s moves into alternative investments, said GPIF is expected to announce further appointments of fund-of-funds managers for global real estate.

“This move by GPIF is a strong signal not limited to fund managers, but also other Japanese institutional investors,” he said.

“We are seeing strong motivations by all types of Japanese institutional investors including pension funds, financial institutions, insurance companies, listed REITs, real estate developers for global real estate investment.”