Danish pension provider Velliv is hiring Solveig Rannje, partner and property director at Thylander Group, as its new head of real estate, as it intensifies its focus on the asset class.

The firm, formerly Nordea Life & Pension Denmark, also said it will split its alternatives investment department in two from 1 October, creating one unit for real estate and another for alternatives.

Anders Stensbøl Christiansen, CIO at Velliv, said: “We continue to see interesting opportunities to create attractive returns for our customers in the real estate market.

“As Denmark’s third largest pension company, we will be an important player in the property market in the future too.”

The current real estate chief Søren Tang Kristensen will become head of alternative investments, a department expected to become more of a focus and receive more resources, said Stensbøl Christiansen.

The pension provider, which changed its name last year, said real estate now accounts for around DKK16bn (€2.1bn) of its DKK240bn of total assets, and that the asset class is expected to be a particular area of growth over the next few years.

Before beginning her current position as partner and property director for Danish private equity real estate firm Thylander Group, Rannje worked as property manager for SEB Pension, as deputy director for PFA Real Estate, and as chief executive for Danish property developer FS Ejendomsselskab, a subsidiary of state-owned company Finansiel Stabilitet.

Rannje said: “Velliv will continue to be an active developer of new property projects that can both contribute with attractive returns to the customers and contribute to securing attractive housing for customers.”

Velliv said Rannje will start in the new role on 1 October.