Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma has abandoned its search for new real estate fund managers due to market uncertainty.

The pension fund had earlier this year decided to defer its decision to commit $200m (€167m) to two non-core real estate funds, but the process has been aborted, according to latest board meeting minutes.

Tom Spencer, executive director for Oklahoma Teachers, said there were too many unknowns in the market to confidently select a manager.

The search could be resumed at a later date, but the process would need to be started from scratch.

According to industry sources it is a rare case of a significant real estate fund manager search being scrapped by a US pension fund because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The search had been narrowed down to open-ended funds managed by four firms: Brookfield Asset Management, JP Morgan Asset Management, PGIM Real Estate and Principal Global Investors.

The objective of the fund commitments was to move to a 50-50 split between core and value-add real estate. As of September 2019, about two thirds of the portfolio was made up of core investments.

Oklahoma Teachers is now considering a real estate pacing schedule for 2021, which could vary from $155m to $187m, depending on the overall growth rate of the pension fund.