UNITED STATES - Virginia Retirement System has decided to invest $400m ($325m) more of its equity into the real estate sector, three quarters of which will go towards an investment partnership with Amli Residential.

According to industry sources, the pension fund was looking to team up with an apartment manager with an existing pipeline of deals, which it could readily gain exposure to.

Amli was chosen in this respect and has already acquired the first asset for the partnership: a residential complex in Atlanta.

The partnership calls for Amli to buy apartment complexes in mature markets around the US. Potential markets include Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Southern California.

Amli was acquired in 2006 by Morgan Stanley Real Estate's Prime Property Fund, taking the then listed company private following a $2.1bn deal.

Virginia Retirement System also made a $100m allocation to the Lion Industrial Trust, an open-ended commingled fund that invests in US industrial properties and managed by ING Clarion Partners.

The fund focuses on buying existing properties in the major industrial markets in the country. It is also open to development opportunities.