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Enfield mulls real estate update

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UK - Concerns about the performance of the UK and European property markets mean the London Borough of Enfield is now looking closely at whether to further diversify its pension fund's real estate allocation.

Paul Reddaway, head of treasury and pensions at Enfield council, confirmed the pension fund is searching for a pan-European fund of funds manager to look after approximately £25m (€34.75m) in assets, but added officials are uncertain at this stage whether the investment will go ahead given concerns about lowering yields on property prices.

A tender notice has been issued by the £550m local government scheme to begin the search for a suitable manager, but officials are in no rush to make the appointment, according to Reddaway.

Approximately 10% of the pension fund's assets are currently held in UK real estate, Reddaway told IPE, but the scheme is undecided as to where exactly these assets will be taken from, having recently reduced its equities allocation to move assets into hedge funds and infrastructure.

"We are tentatively looking to place some of our portfolio in Europe. But we have not yet decided whether it will come from existing assets or new money.

He continued: "We made the decision in September but the market has changed considerably. But we thought we would continue to investigate the possibility of investing. With markets falls in property, that has rather changed the game and we may take our time to see what is out there."

Interested parties must submit their applications by January 21, 2008.

Elsewhere, the Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council has appointed Drivers Jonas as valuer to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund's property portfolio.

The £9.5bn scheme announced in September it was reviewing Colliers CRE as valuer to the asset class which is managed in-house by Charles Lofstedt, head of property investments. (See earlier IPE story: Greater Manchester fund tenders property valuation)

At the last full evaluation to year-end 2005, the fund's directly-owned property portfolio comprised 72 properties valued at £525m.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email julie.henderson@ipe.com

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