In real estate investing, experience is critical, and Mike DiRe, director of real estate for the $175 billion (€110 billion) California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) has had many years of experience in real estate and finance. The Sacramento native was previously real estate portfolio manager at the US' largest public pension, the $253 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), where he oversaw the pension's core retail portfolio, before joining CalSTRS as director of real estate in 2000. As head of CalSTRS' real estate arm, DiRe was given delegated authority around four years ago and has hundreds of relationships each of several hundred million dollars, said one US placement agent. DiRe is the only current leader with much tenure, according to another placement agent. The California pension announced earlier this year it was raising its real estate allocation target to 10 percent, from its prior target of nine percent, at the same time as increasing its private equity target one percentage point to eight percent. The changes are in line with the pension's long-term target for real estate of 11 percent and for private equity of nine percent. CalSTRS is taking what it calls a “step approach,” involving step-by-step increments in its target for real estate and alternative investments. Specifically, the pension's seven percent allocation to real estate in fiscal year 2006 had successive step-ups to eight, nine and its current 10 percent, a percentage point away from its long-term target. DiRe has a Bachelors of Science degree in business administration from California State University, Sacramento, and joined Liquidity Fund Financial Group in Emeryville as a senior analyst after completing his degree. He then worked for Paterson Financial Services in Lafayette and Deloitte and Touche Real Estate Consulting Group in San Francisco before joining CalPERS in 1994.