UNITED STATES - Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma will make an investment in core open-ended commingled funds as its first ever move into real estate.

The pension fund has issued a Request for Information and responses to this search will close on 30 April before a final manager selection is made sometime in June or July, said James Wilbanks, executive secretary for the pension fund.

"Investing in core real estate is something that the retirement board can understand. It is a way for the pension fund to achieve more diversification and still be able to reach an 8% return on its overall investment portfolio," said Wilbanks.

Investing first in a core open-ended real estate strategy is fairly typical of US pension funds. And there are several commingled funds in this sector that already have assembled a large established portfolio.

This allows investors to quickly achieve a significant amount of diversification by having a partial ownership position in a portfolio of office, industrial, retail and apartments spread across the country.

Oklahoma Teachers has yet firm up its established allocation to real estate but it's likely to be in the range of 5% of its $8.6bn (€6.3bn) in plan assets, as valued at the end of 2009.

The pension fund is expected to work with its investment consultant, Gregory W. Group, on future searches when the scheme considers opportunistic and REIT strategies too.

Most of its assets are currently invested in listed equities, fixed income and private equity as of last year.