Coyle and his team will leave the company at the end of this week.

NEW YORK CITY—Global investment manager Cohen & Steers is leaving the private equity real estate business, according to a report from PERE. The decision has also led to the departure of the group’s head, Steve Coyle, and his team, at the end of this week.

In a note sent to clients yesterday, PERE reports that Coyle, who is senior vice president and chief investment officer for the company’s global private real estate opportunity strategies, wrote: “The firm has decided to no longer be active in the private equity real estate space. As a result, my team and I will depart the firm effective this Friday.”

Coyle has been with the company for the past five years of his 25-year career. He and others joined Cohen & Steers in 2008 solely to establish a fund-of-funds division that would invest in real estate through a variety of private equity vehicles. Prior to the move, Coyle was chief investment strategist and a fund of funds portfolio manager with Citigroup Property Investors, the real estate investment management arm of Citigroup.

As far as where the team will land, Coyle indicated, “My team and I are currently reviewing a number of options. I hope to be in touch shortly with information (with regards) to a new home for our business activities.”

A call made to Anthony Ialeggio, senior vice president and director of global marketing for Cohen & Steers, was not immediately returned. However, in its second quarter investment commentary on global real estate securities, as well as in a June white paper, “Revisiting the Truth About Real Estate Allocations,”  the firm seemed to show a preference for publicly listed real estate investment trusts over private equity investment. The section of its website devoted to private real estate opportunity has also been shut down.

In both reports, the firm’s analysts commented on how REITs have outperformed private equity funds. In the white paper, for instance, they wrote, “Listed REITs consistently outperformed core and value-added real estate funds, while providing the ongoing benefit of liquidity . . . Core and value-added fund investors have not experienced any return premium in exchange for illiquidity.”

Meanwhile, the Q2 report stated, “Given our expectations of an improving U.S. economy, our focus is on REITs with the potential to outperform in a recovery.”

It would be a return to its roots for Cohen & Steers, which was formed in 1986 as the first investment company to specialize in listed real estate. It’s been listed on the NYSE since 2004 and as of midyear, it had $47.8 billion in assets under management, with additional offices in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seattle.