Danske Bank’s pensions subsidiary Danica Pension has appointed Jakob Kær Nielsen as its chief portfolio manager for foreign real estate — a new role the pension provider says it created in preparation for its increased focus on international property assets.

The DKK617bn (€82.7bn) pensions firm said its takeover of SEB Pension’s Danish assets in 2017 had led to an increase in overall assets under management and boosted its foreign property exposure, which almost doubled as a result of the merger.

Danica Pension’s foreign real estate portfolio now consists of 16 commitments to property funds, worth a total of around DKK2.5bn.

Danica Real Estate’s Chief Executive André Scharf said: “Now that the integration of SEB Pension’s Danish activities has been completed, we are looking ahead and want to increase our focus on the foreign real estate exposure.”

A spokesman from Danske Bank told IPE Real Assets: “The strategy for international real estate is currently being discussed internally, but it is likely that the exposure will increase going forward.”

Kær Nielsen joined Danica Pension’s property arm on 1 June from his most recent role as associate director at Patrizia Multi-Managers where, Danica said, he was made investments in unlisted real estate funds in North America and Europe.

Prior to Kær Nielsen’s appointment, the Danske spokesman said, all international real estate activities had been handled directly by Scharf, and that the firm’s chief portfolio manager for real estate, Thomas Engstrøm, will remain in charge of Danish assets.

Kær Nielsen said he was looking forward to developing the current portfolio of foreign properties. “A higher exposure to foreign properties in aimed at helping Danica strengthen pension customers’ returns,” he said.