Italian insurer Poste Vita is close to awarding a mandate to invest in European real estate for the first time.

IPE Real Estate understands that the Poste Italiane subsidiary will name its preferred manager in the coming weeks.

The institution is looking to invest in Italy and Europe via an indirect, fund-based strategy.

Poste Vita could allocate as much as 3% to the asset class, IPE Real Estate reported earlier this year.

The Rome-based investor had €84bn in assets in June 2014, according to most recently published figures. A 3% allocation would necessitate the creation of a property portfolio worth €2.4bn. 

Last year, former Allianz Real Estate Italy director, Marco Plazzotta, was hired to manage a real estate investments division.

Poste Vita has previously sought advice from LaSalle Investment Management. The wider, partially privatised, Poste Italiane group is already advised by Towers Watson.

Poste Vita did not comment.

A shortlist of 10 managers, including Italian SGR (Società Gestione Risparmio) vehicles as well as global firms, was recently leaked to the Italian press.

CBRE Global Investors, LaSalle and UBS Real Estate were all linked to the Poste Vita mandate, along with Italy’s Fabrica, IdeaFimit, Prelios and Sorgente.