REAL ESTATE - The Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System has decided to invest in real estate for the first time with a new commingled fund manager search.

The pension fund has Judy Collins at its chief financial officer. She said: "Our consultant has told us that by investing in real estate we can achieve more diversification within our investment portfolio and have the possibility for higher returns."

Oklahoma Police has Asset Consulting Group as its consultant. The person working with this person fund for the consultant is director Jason Pulos.

The pension fund decided to start investing in real estate by issuing an RFP for a core commingled fund real estate manager. The institutional investor took this action at its board meeting on January 17.

The responses for the manager search are due to the pension fund on March 2 at 4pm CDT. Oklahoma Police will hear from finalists and make a final decision in May. It’s projected that a contract with the winning manager will be signed in early July.

The pension fund has allocated from $40m(€31m) to $50m for the manager search. It has established a 5% allocation for real estate. The only real estate that Oklahoma Police holds is the building that it is located in.

Most pension funds when starting to invest in real estate prefer a core commingled fund strategy. A lot of this capital goes into open-ended core funds. This gives the institutional investor the greatest chance for immediate diversification.

These commingled funds have long and established portfolios. Some go as far back as 1980. They own a mixture of stabilized office, industrial, retail and apartments across the US.

Oklahoma Police has total assets at around $1.6bn(€1.2bn). The pension fund has invested in a variety of other asset classes. These include fixed income, equity and special situations that have some timber investments.