NORWAY - The Norwegian Ministry of Finance has appointed Partners Group to provide real estate consultancy services to the NOK 2.1trn (€265bn) Government Pension Fund - Global.

The contract, which was tendered in November, requires Partners Group - a Swiss-based global alternative asset manager with large operations in the US - to prepare a report containing recommendations on how the Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which runs the global fund, should formulate a real estate mandate.

The Ministry of Finance confirmed last year it is considering a separate allocation to real estate investments and, as a result, tendered for a consultant to outline a "set of evaluation criteria for the operational management" of a real estate portfolio.  (See earlier IPE story: Norway seeks real estate expertise)

The government today revealed Partners Group had been appointed to the role following a strong tender competition based on price, expertise of working with similar institutions, and the firm's approach.

It pointed out while Partners Group has very little experience in real estate consultancy for large institutions, the firm had acquired the real estate consultancy business of Pension Consulting Alliance (PCA) in 2007, which has provided consultancy services in Europe and overseas, and is most well-known in the US through its work with schemes such as CalPERS.

A spokesperson said Partners Group's biggest advantage was the team from PCA, which has "experience in similar assignments" as it used to be the real estate consultants for large institutional investors.

Following its appointment, Partners Group is now expected to produce a written report, with recommendations, to be presented to the Ministry of Finance although a specific timetable has yet to be revealed. 

The Government Pension Fund - Global currently splits its investments in two, with 40% allocated to overseas equities and 60% in overseas fixed interest, although plans to diversify into alternative assets were first highlighted in May 2007 when NBIM appointed a real estate manager. (See earlier IPE story: NBIM appoints real estate manager)

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