FT HomeTIAA-CREF, the world’s largest retirement plan, is to open its first overseas office by setting up a base in London to step up investments in European properties, in a sign of foreign buyers› growing interest in the region’s real estate market. The US pension fund’s decision to open the first foreign outpost in its 90-year history underlines the desire by cash-rich investors to take advantage of the financial crisis to pick up assets at attractive prices.

The move by TIAA-CREF – which manages about $480bn on behalf of 3.4m academics, teachers and doctors – also confirms London’s status as a global financial centre and a prominent real estate hub. Tom Garbutt, TIAA-CREF’s global head of real estate, told the Financial Times that the London office would be the platform to increase the fund’s exposure to European real estate.

Financial Times