The National Pension Service of Korea (NPS), the world’s fifth largest pension fund, is targeting trophy office and retail assets in central London for possible acquisition. Rockspring Property Investment Managers, based in the United Kingdom, will acquire properties on behalf of the newly launched NPS Central London Property Limited Partnership. Several transactions are expected to close before the end of 2009.

Rockspring is seeking to acquire landmark assets extending from London's West End through the central city. The West End contains many of the city’s major tourist attractions, businesses and headquarters. The desired properties have long leases with strong tenants in the office and retail sectors. Typically the individual lots can be acquired with or without debt.

“We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside NPS. Winning this mandate is a reflection of our strong track record in managing funds in many and varied market conditions over the last 25 years,” says Robert Gilchrist, chief executive of Rockspring.

“Given the level of equity available to the fund and its ability to be flexible on gearing for each transaction, we believe the fund will stand out as an attractive potential purchaser in a market that still has limited availability of debt,” adds Gilchrist.

NPS is an existing client of Rockspring as an investor in its Rockspring TransEuropean IV fund established in 1988. The fund has current reserves of approximately $200 billion and a targeted fund size of $440 billion by the end of 2012. It has a specific strategy to invest up to $3 billion acquiring real estate assets in London, New York, Tokyo and Sydney in 2009.