Meredith Despins, NAREIT senior vice president for investment affairs and investor education, recently participated in the Texas Association of Public Employees Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) Summer Educational Forum in San Antonio, Texas.

TEXPERS membership includes 80 Texas pension systems representing more than 300,000 active and retired pension plan participants with in excess of $22 billion in assets.

The theme of this year’s forum was “Plan Sponsor Roadmap:  A Great Pension Starts with You.”  During the forum, Despins hosted and moderated a panel discussion titled “Real Estate Investing Through REITs:  The Route to Where you Want To Go (and you won’t even need a GPS!)

Despins was joined on the panel by representatives from CenterSquare Investment Management, Cohen & Steers, and Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors.  The session provided an industry overview and a discussion among the panelists on topics that included:

  • The impact of the  creation of a Real Estate headline sector within the S&P / Dow Jones Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) on the industry;
  • Recent research published by CEM Benchmarking demonstrating REIT outperformance, on a total net return basis, over traditional and alternative assets during the 2008-2014 period and what pension fund trustees and staff might take away from these findings; and
  • Perspectives on the outlook for REIT investment – challenges and opportunities domestically and globally.

Many of Texas’ public pension systems have embraced commercial real estate investment as an integral component of their pension investment portfolios, and more than one-half report investment through REITs as a path to real estate.


(contact: Meredith Despins @ mdespins@nareit.com)

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