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Cook County on the hunt for non-core manager

The $9.1 billion Chicago-based pension has issued an RFP for a non-core real estate manager to run up to $60 million.

The Cook County Employees’ and Officers’ Annuity & Benefit Fund has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for managers to invest approximately $60 million on behalf of the $9.1 billion pension fund in non-core real estate or real estate debt strategies. The Chicago-based pension may select one manager to run the total allocation, or divide it among multiple managers.

The RFP, prepared by Cook County consultant Callan Associates, has a deadline of September 19. The pension’s goal is to invest in a strategy that will, after fees, exceed the NCREIF ODCE by at least 200 basis points. Cook County is seeking US or global closed-end commingled funds only. Fund of funds and open-end funds will not be considered. Funds diversified by both geography and property type are preferred. 

Cook County requires that respondents have at least a five-year track record and $500 million in real estate assets under management. The fund will only review firms with funds that have a minimum return target of 10 percent net IRR to investors and a minimum capital raising target of $500 million. Funds that have had at least one close, have pre-specified assets and are larger than $500 million are preferred.

The pension noted that it has a “strong preference for managers with at least one prior non-core fund that has completed its life cycle and has demonstrable, realized performance.” A preference will be given to managers that have public pension funds among their client base.

Cook County will evaluate the responses based on a firm’s demonstrated track record of competitive prior and prospective performance; established institutional client base (particularly with tax-exempt clients or public funds); superior client service; collaboration with staff; timely and proactive communications; transparency and investor governance provisions; and competitive fee terms.

Cook County currently has a target real estate allocation of 8 percent. The RFP marks the second real estate search that the pension has conducted in the past seven months. In February, it issued an RFP for at least one real estate emerging manager to run up to $100 million in non-core real estate or REITs.