UNITED STATES- Wisconsin State Investment Board is now planning a new REIT manager search to invest in global securities with the support of its real estate consultant Courtland Partners.

The pension fund believes now is a good time to explore a global REIT strategy as it feels the evolution of the market has made it more attractive to institutions, having seen REITs expand into Europe and Asia.

Wisconsin had indirectly invested in global REITs in the past through international stock portfolios but this new search will be made for direct investments.

The pension fund has not yet set an amount to be invested in the search for Reits but it is believed an RFP will not be used.

It is more likely, sources say, certain managers will be brought in for interviews based on the recommendation of the pension fund’s investment staff and input from Courtland Partners, but it is unclear when a final decision on the search will be made.

Wisconsin already has a domestic REIT portfolio, established in July of 2005 and with a current value of its domestic REIT assets of $150m (€110.5m).

Having discussed this latest search at its board meeting on May 9 the pension fund has also made some changes to its investment strategy with its separate account managers.

One key alteration is it may consider making investments in Canada and Mexico for the first time as the pension fund sees this as a natural progression to its strategy in the United States and institutional investors can buy or invest in similar kinds of properties in Canada and Mexico.

Wisconsin will be doing this largely through its existing separate account managers - RREEF, INVESCO Real Estate and JPMorgan Asset Management.

The pension fund has a non-discretionary relationship with these managers and the capital is funded on a deal-by-deal basis so the pension fund must approve each deal before it can be completed.