UNITED STATES - Over $1bn (€750m) of pension funds has been committed to global REITs strategies over the last two weeks, following Virginia Retirement System's decision to invest new money.

The pension fund has now hired Morgan Stanley Real Estate to invest $377m in REITs, but its first move into listed investments is just the latest behind Wisconsin State Investment Board, Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association and Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association.

Virginia is investing in global REITs through a separate account to enhance its real estate portfolio, as the pension fund believes many new REIT markets are going to be created in the future, and this will give it the ability to in real estate companies with positions in new countries around the globe.

The $56bn fund currently has a domestic REIT program valued at $600m to August 6 2007, making up just a fifth of its $3bn real estate portfolio.

At the same time as moving into REITs, Virginia has committed $75m to the Penwood Select Industrial Partners II commingled fund, as it invests in the Southern California market - said to be one of the strong industrial markets in the world.