During the final quarter of 2013, IPD conducted a survey into the asset allocation processes of institutional asset owners, with a particularly close examination of their real estate exposures. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the real estate element of the survey, with a particular focus on risk management through the investment process.The results are based on a desk-based analysis of 138 asset owners, in-person interviews with 40 investors and a literature review. The focus is on Pension Funds and Sovereign Wealth Funds, providing in-depth coverage of these institutions across 28 countries. The research provides a comprehensive review of the role of the $700bn of real estate equity in asset owner portfolios, including their allocations to different investment styles, their geographic exposures and their approaches to execution. The more innovative aspects of the research relate to the approach of asset owners to real estate risk management, explaining the potential for misalignment at various stages of the investment process. This includes alignment between strategic asset allocation and actual real estate exposures, the use of appropriate benchmarks, and the link between portfolio and asset-specific monitoring and the strategic asset allocation process. The final section of the paper draws out some of the implications of the research including a categorization of different types of asset owner and the steps beginning to be taken by a series of ’global leaders‘ seeking to strengthen risk management through the investment process.