GERMANY - Ernst & Young Real Estate and Warburg-Henderson have joined forces to offer what they describe as an outsourcing service for institutional investors which allows them to transfer their directly-held real estate portfolios into a Speziafonds property fund.

Ernst & Young GmbH will be in charge of analysing the respective property portfolios and buying property for pension funds and insurance companies, while Warburg - Henderson Kapitalanlagegesellschaft für Immobilien GmbH will manage the properties through a transfer fund, with the help of its national and international network.

"We relieve property portfolio holders of the tasks they increasingly see as a burden," said Dr. Henning Klöppelt, management spokesman for Warburg-Henderson.

"Through our asset managers we have a local presence in both the main property locations in Germany and key European markets. Consequently we are in a position to offer our clients professional management services for their portfolios. If necessary, we can embed the properties brought into the fund in an investment strategy that spreads the risk," he added.

Ernst & Young's industry indicator, ‘Real Estate Investments for the Insurance Industry 2008' questioned over 50 institutional investors and found there was a strong interest in indirect real estate investments, suggesting there is demand for such a venture.

Alexander Kähler, a partner at Ernst & Young Real Estate said: "Our study has shown that institutional investors want to move from direct to indirect investments in real estate. The German Spezialfonds property fund tops the list here at 70%. In addition, insurers are set to increase their share of investment in property overall from around 1% to over 7%."

Warburg-Henderson Capital Investment Company is a joint venture by the German bank M.M. Warburg and the British asset manager Henderson Global Investors.

The firm has launched 11 funds for German and international investors, including pension funds and insurance companies, and currently has €3bn of assets under management.

Warburg-Henderson has experience of working with transfer funds, as it facilitated the transfer of the €90m property portfolio of Rheinische Zusatzversorgungskasse für Gemeinden und Gemeindeverbände (RZVK), the Rhine cash management provider for communities and community services.

Ernst & Young Real Estate Gmbh is the German division of the international real estate consultancy firm and an associated company of Ernst & Young Global Limited.

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