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UBS launches separate accounts business – Exclusive

The investment management business of UBS will now work with institutional investors on direct property investing and has appointed current Europe head Tilman Hickl to lead the new unit.

UBS Asset Management, the investment management business of Swiss banking giant UBS, has launched a separate accounts business for institutional investors.

The firm has named the new unit Global Customized Mandates – Key Institutional Clients (GCM – KIC) and it will be led by Tilman Hickl, the current head European real estate.

The move is an expansion of UBS' direct investing platform – Global Customized Mandates – Private Wealth Clients – an established business within UBS' global real estate arm which caters for ultra high net worth clients. It provides investment strategies and asset selection, as well as management of the operational areas of investing, including legal structuring, due diligence and portfolio management.

“The decision to expand the GCM business reflects the growing demand we have seen from our institutional clients, including sovereign wealth funds, to invest directly into large scale properties and development projects, rather than doing so through real estate investment funds,” said Thomas Wels, UBS Asset Management's head of global real estate.

For institutional capital sources UBS will source, structure and execute transactions, while also managing the assets. Under Hickl's leadership, the institutional separate accounts business will sit alongside the private wealth arm, which will continue to be led by Benoît Delaby. However, Hickl will also assume responsibility for leading the whole Global Customized Mandates unit.

Tilman will be based in Geneva, but GCM – KIC will be a global business unit that will seek to leverage UBS Asset Management's global presence.

Replacing Hickl as the European real estate head at UBS Asset Management is Wolfgang Behrendt. He joins the firm from German real estate fund manager Deka Immobilien Investment. At Deka he was responsible for its public real estate funds, totalling €24 billion in gross assets under management.

UBS Asset Management's Global Real Estate business manages investments valued at around $67 billion across Europe, Asia and the US. It majors on core and value-add investment strategies but also runs other real estate investment strategies including those dedicated to multi-manager funds and real estate securities.