UNITED STATES - Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) has shortlisted four funds from an original 21 as it looks to invest capital in core real estate in the US.

The finalists are JP Morgan Strategic Property Fund, TIAA-CREF Asset Management Core Property Fund, UBS Trumbull Property Fund and ASB Allegiance Real Estate Fund, all of which were on the initial list recommended to OCERS by consultant RV Kuhns.

The pension fund will make a final decision at its board meeting on November 28 and has the option of selecting between one and three of the funds.

OCERS already has investments with two existing core managers: $174m invested in the Prime Property Fund and $167m in the AEW Core Property Trust.

Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds is considering a $50m commitment to the Starwood Distressed Opportunity Fund IX, subject to due diligence by its internal staff and consultant The Townsend Group.

Starwood Capital Group is hoping to achieve a final close for the fund by the end of the year, targeting $2-3bn in capital. Investors in the fund so far include Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois (committed $150m) and New York State Teachers' Retirement System ($50m).

The fund will be aim to deliver a return of 20% gross and 16% net by investing in distressed debt and other real estate opportunities in the US and Europe. Starwood will commit at least 2% of capital raised, up to a maximum of $50m.

Connecticut has invested in previous Starwood funds, including the Starwood Distressed Opportunity Fund VII in 2006 and the Starwood Distressed Opportunity Fund VIII in 2008.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) is looking to invest $125m (€96.5m) in a core open-ended real estate fund, less than six months after approving a $20m investment in the UBS Trumbull Property Fund.

The pension fund is reviewing $360m of new US real estate investments, also including $100m allocation to a real estate debt strategy.

SWIB wants to set up a separate account to manage the debt strategy, while the open-ended core fund must be included in the NCREIF Open-End Diversified Core (ODCE) index.

Other investments under review are an $85m acquisition of a student housing complex adjacent to a major West Coast university campus, and a $50m commitment to a close-ended fund with a strategy to acquire single-family homes.

A number of other US pension funds, including California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, have already committed to the fund.

Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System will invest $75m in RCG Longview's latest real estate debt fund, having committed $175m to its predecessor in 2008.

RCG Longview Debt Fund V aims to capitalise on dislocation in the US lending market and generate equity-like returns for lower levels of risk.

The fund will invest in whole loans, mezzanine loans, preferred equity and senior loans seek to generate net leveraged returns of 12.5-14.5%.

The fund is controlled jointly by the Ramius Group and the Feil Organization, which are hoping to raise a total of $500m in investment capital.