UK - Former Schroders real estate multi-manager chief Jenny Buck has joined Tesco's pension fund as head of property.

The move reflects a decision by the UK retailer's pension scheme, which has a £1bn (€1.14bn) deficit, to bring senior investment management in-house.

Buck is expected to build up an internal property investment team effectively from scratch, and to develop systems for in-house management of a real estate allocation that makes up close to 10% of the overall portfolio.

Up to now, management of the pension fund's real estate portfolio - which includes both direct and indirect investments - has been externally managed.

One reason for the surprise move is likely to be a desire to return to focusing on investment rather than capital raising, which made up part of Buck's remit at Schroders.

The pension fund's adoption of a multi-asset platform will also bring Buck closer to overall money flows.

In addition to the cultural shift involved in moving from a fund manager to a pension fund, a significant change will be working for a retailer, although it should be noted that global real estate is part of Tesco's core business.

Trustees of the pension scheme have in recent years agreed to accept £500m in property assets from the scheme's sponsor as collateral. Earlier this year it struck a sale-and-leaseback deal for existing properties and development assets worth £685m as a 50-50 joint venture.

The sale of Tesco's property assets has netted the company more than £1.3bn over past five years - proceeds it used to acquire property assets in growth economies.

The supermarket chain will target returns of between £250-350m annually from its property portfolio for the foreseeable future, broadly equivalent to the return on its development activities, via the annual divestment of UK property worth £1bn.