Hawaii to hire new RE consultant

The firm is replacing Courtland Partners after nine years.

The Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii is changing real estate consultants, the pension system said earlier this month.

ERS, which started investing in real estate in 1985, had worked with Cleveland, Ohio-based Courtland Partners since 2008. At its May meeting, the pension system’s board changed consultants to Chicago-based Aon Hewitt, which will begin advising the pension system on its $790 million real estate portfolio in July.

Vijoy Chattergy, ERS’s chief investment officer, told PERE that the consultant review takes place every five years and was unrelated to the December death of Michael Humphrey, Courtland’s co-founder.

The pension system began its search in February with a request for proposals. ERS planned to award a three-year contract, with a three-year extension option, for a consultant to oversee a five-year strategic plan for real estate, review managers annually, search for separate account managers and complete other related tasks.

ERS was searching for a consultant that had at least three years of real estate experience and one public retirement system client with assets greater than $5 billion, among other qualifications, according to its RFP. The pension system was also considering Courtland and Townsend Group, another Cleveland-based real assets advisory firm, Chattergy said.

ERS had real estate investments with 15 fund managers as of September 30, according to its RFP. The pension system also has 12 properties managed in two separate accounts, according to its website.

Real estate returned 11.4 percent in the year ending December 31, according to ERS’s most recent investment report. The $14.9 billion pension system returned 7.9 percent overall in 2016.