REAL ESTATE - Real estate fund manager Cordea Savills has appointed a German head to launch international funds targeting institutional investors, including burgeoning pension funds.

Thomas Guetle joins Cordea’s recently opened Munich office from TMW Pramerica, where he set up a regulated German asset management business. His appointment follows that of Berith Kuebler as Cordea’s head of German portfolio management earlier this year.

Guetle said the firm would “offer an attractive and broad range” of property funds created specifically for German investors. The funds will target the country’s growing pension fund market as well as larger institutional investor blocs such as insurance firms.

Its first German pan-European fund will launch towards the end of the year, followed by further specialist funds with diverse risk profiles in 2007.

Cordea executive chairman John Partridge said the funds would reflect “specific client demand and the availability of stock. The days when you launch a fund, then go looking for stock are gone.”

Partridge, who worked with Guetle at Henderson Global Investors, sees “natural evolution” in the German market.

“The German market is naturally pro-property,’ said Partridge. “It’s still focused on domestic, rather than international, investment but the more mature emphasis on performance measurement and risk reduction is driving more diversification. The natural evolution of the market is creating a natural demand for pan-European products.”

This boost for Cordea’s German office comes as the firm accelerates its European expansion programme. With operations already in London and Italy, it plans to open offices in Spain and France in 2006 and 2007.

Meanwhile, Mercury Real Estate Advisors has appointed Charles Neo, UBS Germany’s former head of Asian real estate research, to head its recently opened Singapore office.

Malcolm MacLean, president of the real estate investment management firm, said the appointment was part of a strategy to build up resources and capital in the region. The firm already has already invested significantly in pan-Asian funds.

Neo has considerable form as an Asian real estate analyst, notably on the Singapore market. Under his tenure, UBS raised more than $1.2bn of equity capital for REITs in Asia.

“His background is second to none,” said MacLean.

Eventually, MacLean said, the Asian team will number five people – two in Singapore and three in Hong Kong.