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It's no secret that the pension fund industry moves in lockstep at times, in an almost herd-like fashion, when it comes to all things relating to real estate investing. But there are a few clear leaders in the space, and their movements are considered bellwethers for the industry.

That's why the recent moves by the California Public Employees' Retirement System are significant. When America's largest public pension plan, with $228 billion in assets under management, makes a move, and makes it publicly, it rightfully draws attention. After all, CalPERS has more than $18 billion invested in global real estate, which is about 8% of its total investment portfolio.

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