GLOBAL - The San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association has approved a recommendation to allocate 20% of its real estate portfolio to public REITs, amounting to approximately $75m (€58.4m).

Don Pierce, investment officer for risk management, said: "Public REITs are a better way to manage our real estate portfolio. 

"They have a strong liquidity feature that allows us to move our portfolios around [more easily] than would be the case with private real estate."

The pension fund has had to deal with some "liquidity issues" with open-ended investments in private real estate, such as its investment in RREEF America REIT III. 

In January 2009, the pension fund filed a redemption queue request to get $14m out of the fund, but it has yet to receive the capital, as RREEF stopped paying out redemption queue requests in March 2008.

San Bernardino County officials said the fund would aim to do an RFP search - conducted by the fund's real estate consultant, The Townsend Group - for global REIT managers during the first quarter of 2011.

On a long-term basis, the pension fund will split its real estate portfolio into three investment strategies: 50% core, 30% non-core and 20% global REITs.

The value of its real estate portfolio was $445m as at the end of July. 

The pension fund has invested 8.5% invested in real estate, with a targeted allocation of 9%. 

Total plan assets for the pension fund were $5.3bn over the same time period.