UNITED STATES - Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is getting ready to make its first ever move into investing in international REITs.

This is expected to a key topic of discussion at its July board meeting in July, as the $550m (€355.2m) set to be invested is approximately half of the funds' $1.1bn already allocated to real estate.

The management body already has $1.1bn in REITs for two of its pension funds, but the move is also especially important, as this will be the first time Ohio PERS has hired outside managers for a REIT investment strategy.

Officials managing assets for its Defined Benefit Plan and the Health Care pension funds believe there are some good REIT investment opportunities outside the US as the current global real estate securities discount to NAV represents the largest discount seen in the global market for 10 years.

This is in addition to diversification benefit of investing in different countries and economies.

Ohio PERS is likely to conduct an international REIT manager search with the assistant of either of its consultant - general consultant is Mercer Investment Consulting and real estate consultant The Townsend Group.

Sources say if Ohio PERS goes ahead, the pension funds may hire as many as five international REIT managers to deliver executive strategies ranging from pan-continental to global (ex-US) portfolios.