This week, Nareit participated as a member of the teaching faculty for the Florida Public Pension Trustees Association’s (FPPTA) Certified Public Pension Trustee Program. The program, launched in 1997, covers a wide range of topics intended to prepare trustees for their fiduciary responsibilities, and the decisions likely to arise in the ordinary course of a Florida public pension trustee’s duties and activities. Meredith Despins, Nareit senior vice president, investment affairs & investor education, delivered the “Introduction to Real Estate Investments” course as part of the basic curriculum for new pension trustees during the FPPTA’s virtual Spring Trustee School.
Despins’ presentation, intended to introduce new trustees to the real estate asset class, focused on the important role real estate plays in mixed asset pension investment portfolios. Despins noted that real estate has long been a staple in pension investment portfolios, and that the real estate opportunity set for investors has grown and evolved over the years. She stressed how investing in REIT-based real estate can help pension funds position their real estate portfolios for the 21st century and help to address priorities that have become critically important to pension investors over the last decade including:
- Governance and control over real estate investments;
- The ability to efficiently invest fully in the real estate asset class, including “new economy” real estate; and
- Maximizing investment performance and cost management.
This is the sixth year Nareit has been asked to speak at FPPTA Trustees schools, which are intended to provide new and experienced trustees of Florida’s public sector pension plans with information on investments and pension plan operations and enable them to effectively fulfill their responsibilities on behalf of their pension systems. FPPTA member systems include more than 260 pension boards representing police officers, firefighters, and general government employees. Nareit is currently serving as a member of the FPPTA’s Education Committee of the Board.