ASR Asset Management has launched a mortgage fund, offering institutional investors a stake in Dutch residential property.

The investment management subsidiary of insurer ASR said it was targetting around €2bn of investments.

The insurer has been issuing residential mortgages for decades, and last year issued €1.3bn.

ASR is now making newly issued mortgages available to third-party investors, although it clarified that external parties would not be able to gain exposure to the €7bn of existing mortgages held on its balance sheet.

Participants can opt for two sub funds, one for state-guaranteed mortgages (NHG) and the other for non-NHG house loans, enabling them to choose their preferred risk-return ratio.

So far, a family office and a small insurer have invested €10m, while a pension fund has committed to make an investment this month, a spokesperson said.

Fellow Dutch insurers Aegon and Achmea already offer mortgage investments to external investors.

The trend reflects growing importance of asset management as a business model for insurers, as well as the increasing demand for private debt investments among pension funds.

Other companies, such as DMFCO and Dynamic Credit have also started offering mortgage investments, aimed in particular at pension funds.

Last year, ASR also opened its office property fund to external investors, having already done so with its residential and retail funds.

Approximately, 20 institutional investors have taken a combined stake of €1bn in the three funds, with pension funds having invested approximately half of this amount.