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Swiss Life to launch debut German real estate funds

The investment arm of insurer Swiss Life is to launch a series of German open-ended, closed-ended and mutual funds for a mixture of investors, both institutional and private. 

Swiss Life Asset Managers (AM), the investment arm of insurer Swiss Life, is to launch its first German real estate investment funds as the firm looks to expand its market presence in Germany and continental Europe.

The Swiss asset manager confirmed this week that it had obtained a license for the newly-founded investment platform, Swiss Life Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft (KVG), from the German financial supervisory authority BaFin.

Swiss Life AM said it would be launching a series of open-ended and close-ended vehicles which would be aimed at institutional investors, as well as mutual real estate funds for private investors.

The Zurich-based firm has not yet disclosed fundraising targets, strategies or sector information, however, it said it would be making an announcement in these regards in the coming weeks.

“With Swiss Life KVG, we are creating a platform for setting up our own real estate funds in Germany. Together with our German subsidiary, Corpus Sireo, we want to use this to promote business with institutional and private investors in one of Europe’s leading investment markets,” Stefan Mächler, chief investment officer of the Swiss Life Group.

Once fully functional, the Swiss Life KVG funds will be managed by Ingo Hartlief and Christine Bernhofer. Hartlief, who is also chief executive officer of Swiss Life KVG, said: “Swiss Life KVG will tap into new, attractive potential in the German real estate sector. We will thus help our parent company expand its fund activities in one of the most significant European real estate markets.”

Hartlief said Swiss Life AM began preparations for its fund creation strategy and European expansion in 2014, when it acquired the German real estate fund and asset management company Corpus Sireo.

“With our group’s own investment management company, we are adding to our already established range of funds from Luxembourg by setting up German open-ended property funds with innovative investment strategies and funds for institutional investors. We will focus on social megatrends and their effects on real estate markets,” said Bernhard Berg, chief executive officer of Corpus Sireo.

The fund launch follows closely behind another real estate deal by Swiss Life AM. In October, the firm snapped up UK property fund manager Mayfair Capital Investment Management for an undisclosed sum, creating a pan-European business with some £55.3 billion ($68.6 billion; €61.4 billion) of real estate assets under management. The deal, once complete, will bring a UK platform together with real estate teams in Switzerland, Germanyn and France.