NORTH AMERICA – The Seattle City Employees' Retirement System has hired AEW Capital Management and Heitman as core, open-ended fund managers.

The pension fund had previously had JP Morgan Asset Management representing 70% of the core open-ended sector of its real estate portfolio, according to a board meeting document.  
This was through an investment in the manager's Strategic Property Fund.

Seattle City Employees wants to reduce this exposure to 25%, freeing up as much as $96m (€74.5m) to invest in other core, open-ended funds.

The pension fund did not say how much capital was committed to AEW and Heitman, although the funds will be placed into the AEW Core Property Trust and Heitman America Real Estate Trust.

Seattle City Employees has a real estate portfolio valued at $209.5m, as of the end of 2012. 

This represents 10.6% of the pension fund's $1.97bn of total plan assets.

In other news, Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions has setup minimum qualification criteria for its REIT manager search. 

Each potential manager must have more than $1bn in assets under manager and needs to have in the REITs investment strategy more than $500m in AUM.

It must also have at least a five-year track record and offer a separate account.

The pension fund is looking to replace its current REIT managers, Principal Global Investors and Morgan Stanley Real Estate, which together oversee a REIT portfolio valued at $265m, as of the end of December 2012.

Los Angeles Fire and Police said in a board meeting document that RV Kuhns & Associates, its general investment consultant, would have primary responsibility for the search. 

The scheme aims to identify 10-12 qualified candidates for further evaluation. 

This will be narrowed down to three or four possible firms to be brought before the pension board for final interviews. 

A final decision will be made this autumn.