REAL ESTATE - The $10.6bn Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund has decided to let its real estate consultant, Cleveland-based the Townsend Group, to work with its separate account real estate managers.

In the past, the pension fund had its senior real estate investment officer Lou Canlas oversee this part of its investment process. She recently left Ohio and is now holding a similar position with the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board in Boston.

This is a fairly unique situation in the pension fund real estate industry – especially for a fund of this size.

Communication manager David Graham said: “The pension fund believes that this will become less of an issue as it will have a lower emphasis on separate accounts and more on commingled fund investment strategy.”

The scheme did attempt a new separate account search in 2005. It was terminated as it didn’t attract enough quality applicants to meet requirements. There has been no timetable established as to when this would be considered again.

Ohio Police & Fire now has two separate account managers. Invesco Realty Advisors manages an account with total assets of $143m. RREEF runs an account with assets under management of $202m.

Ohio Police & Fire has continued to invest capital into commingled funds. Last month it allocated $50m into two high return investment funds.

It invested $25m into the Blackstone Real Estate Partners Fund V. It allocated the same amount for Walton Street Real Estate Fund V. Both of these funds will look at investing in a combination of existing and development kind of transactions involving a variety of property types.

Ohio Police & Fire will continue to look at investing in additional commingled funds throughout 2006. The fund’s real estate portfolio has a current value of $447m. It has a targeted real estate allocation of 8%. It has invested a little more than 4%.