NORTH AMERICA – The Santa Barbara County Employees Retirement System has decided on the first $50m (€38m) of $72.5m worth of planned investments for real estate in 2013.

These commitments were split up into a variety of structures and strategies, including core to opportunistic on a risk basis, debt and open-ended commingled funds and a separate account REIT strategy. 

All of the capital will be invested in the US.

The two debt commitments were $10m each into the Mesa West Fund III and Mesa West Core Fund

Fund III is a value-add investment play, while the Core Fund invests in strong existing properties.

The pension fund also allocated $20m into the Invesco US Income fund, an open-ended, core fund that will focus on income-producing assets.

Santa Barbara County committed to one opportunistic fund, a $7.5m investment into the Lubert-Adler Fund VII

This is a closed-end commingled fund that looks to invest in apartments and retail properties across the US.

The pension fund added another $2.5m commitment to Harrison Street Securities

This is an existing separate-account relationship that invests in real estate securities.  
Santa Barbara County has now invested a total of $15m into the account. 

Around 98% of the capital to this point has been invested in REITs based in the US, with the remainder being based in Canada.

The pension fund and its real estate consultant, ORG Portfolio Management, will spend the rest of the calendar year trying to find investment opportunities for the remaining $22.5m allocated for real estate in 2013.

Santa Barbara County has a total real estate portfolio valued at $107.4m, as of the end of March.

In other news, the Montana State Board of Investments has approved a $40m commitment into the TIAA-CREF Asset Management Core Property fund.

The investment is part of the $65m Montana earmarked for core open-ended funds earlier this year. 

The pension fund's other existing core, open-ended fund managers include Clarion Partners, Invesco Real Estate, JP Morgan Asset Management and UBS Realty Investors.