UNITED STATES - School Employees Retirement System of Ohio is increasing its allocation to global REITs from 11% to 15% of its total real estate portfolio.

According to pension fund officials, the investor believes public real estate has a more optimistic outlook than private real estate as companies in that sector are now raising more capital to try and take advantage of the investment opportunities in the near-term.

Aside from its interest in public real estate, Ohio SERS believes global REITs have better liquidity and global diversification benefits in the current climate so the pension fund has allocated an extra $20m (€14.4m) to its existing global REITs funds, by using some of its cash holdings.

Invesco Real Estate and ING Clarion Real Estate Securities manage approximately half of the total global REIT portfolio which Ohio SERS had valued at $110m by the end of March 2009. 

Ohio SERS had a total real estate portfolio valued at $1.04bn at the end of April 2009 to give it a real estate portfolio worth 12.9% of total plan assets. This is 2.9% over the 10% targeted allocation but within the 5% to 15% range for the asset class.

The pension fund is also looking to expand its private real estate portfolio over the next 12 months with exposure to Asia.

Any such decision would contribute to the pension fund's 5% holdings in international real estate, though the long-term goal is to broaden the non-US coverage to 15% of the real estate portfolio.

Ohio SERS is also investigating investment opportunities in infrastructure as it has not invested in this sector before.