Texas MRS eyes real estate foray

The $17.6bn public pension is looking to invest up to $300m in one or several core, commingled funds as it makes its debut into the asset class.

The Texas Municipal Retirement System is looking to invest up to $300 million with real estate fund managers in the first half of 2011 as it makes its debut in the asset class.

The $17.6 billion public pension said it was eyeing core, commingled funds for its initial foray in real estate, with expectations that up to $300 million could be invested with between one and three GPs.

Texas MRS currently has no allocation to real estate, and as recently as several years ago was invested solely in fixed income. However, after adopting a total return strategy in 2007, the pension introduced a long-term target allocation to real estate of 10 percent.

Spokesman Bill Wallace said the pension didn’t have any set deadlines for reaching the 10 percent target, but he confirmed the search for core managers was MRS’ “initial logical step” in moving into the asset class.

The Texas pension board recently hired consultant ORG Real Property to advise on the move into real estate, and fund recommendations are expected to be presented in March.