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REFIRE knows only too well that it has never been easy to get German investors to allocate part or any of their resources into stock market-listed property shares. This we suppose is partly due to the perceived risk factor, and undoubtedly also partly due to the successful lobbying and marketing in the past by the ever-present open-ended funds, who smoothed out undesirable volatility to deliver a steady, stable return with little apparent risk.
Until, of course, the open-ended fund model was discredited with the freezing and subsequent liquidation of many former household fund names, while numerous investors were left nursing hefty losses when the funds had to take sizeable valuation write-downs on their assets. However, the attraction of liquidity has again drawn investor attention to the merits of property shares as an alternative to direct investment, while mirroring the returns on real bricks-and-mortar assets over the longer term with the added attraction of risk diversification.
The long-established,New York-based investment boutique European Investors Inc (EII), which focuses on managing investments in real estate securities portfolios, has launched its first sustainable real estate fund targeted at German investors.
The EII Global Sustainable Property Fund is a German domiciled mutual fund set up to specifically invest globally in REITS and other publicly-traded property companies meeting a range of environmental and social sustainability criteria. It says its focus will be on equities of companies worldwide involved in owning, managing, developing and financing commercial and residential properties that are meeting acceptable sustainability criteria. The Fund itself will be managed by EII investment people based in EII ‘s offices in New York, Singapore and Amsterdam
According to Christian Lange, the German-born co-founder and president of EII, "Sustainable Investment is one of the key themes for the twenty-first century. Companies that can combine economic, environmental and social objectives not only minimize their risks, but may also enjoy significant competitive advantages. Investors need to be able to rely on high-quality research and specialized real estate securities portfolio management skills and we are excited to deliver these necessary components through our relationship with oekom.” Oekom Research AG is an independent sustainable research and rating agency.
The Fund was launched at the end of 2012 as a German-domiciled UCITS funds and launched with an institutional share class with annual dividend distribution. Warburg Invest KAG are handling the investment with State Street Bank in Frankfurt as the custodian bank.
EII manages more than $11bn of assets worldwide, of which €10bn are invested in real estate securities. The company initially focused on investing in the US on behalf of European investors but has since expanded its remit to include institutionals, family offices and ultra high net worth private individuals from all around the world.