UNITED STATES - The School Employees Retirement System of Ohio has expanded into global REITs investment for the first time with a $200m (€135.4m) allocation.

The pension fund had been looking at and researching global REITs for a couple of years so this development is part of its fiscal year real estate investment plans for 2007 and 2008.

Officials believe global REITs are one of the strongest ways to invest in international real estate and companies which are seen as having solid positions in the countries they operate in.

Ohio School Employees is expected to issue a Request for Proposal for a global REIT manager within the next few weeks, conducting the RFP with assistance from its consultant, Summit Strategies Group, and a final selection is then likely to be made in the next few months.

The global REIT commitment by Ohio School Employees will represent around 20% of the pension fund's real estate portfolio but the investor has already been a player in international real estate in recent years through commingled funds.

Investing in international commingled funds is also part of the pension fund's annual real estate plan for fiscal year 2008 so $50-75m is allocated to this strategy.