GERMANY – The drafted German pension pooling vehicle should be open to all asset classes, including real estate, and allow for investment in existing Spezialfonds, according to representatives of the German asset management industry.

Following the implementation of the European Union's Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), the German government also created a new vehicle, the Investment-Kommanditgesellschaft, which allows companies to pool pension assets.

The legislation is set to come into force by mid-July.

Peter Maier, head of the tax department at Germany's investment industry association BVI, said during an expert panel organised by German pension magazine don: "We can live with the current draft, even if nice features like the chance to invest in real estate or the possibility to transfer existing Spezialfonds on a tax-neutral basis are still missing."

Markus Hammer, head of asset management at PwC in Germany, agreed, saying the industry did not need "paternalism regarding which asset classes are suitable for occupational pensions and which are not".

He added that a vehicle with "maximum flexibility" was needed and that the stakeholders should "decide for themselves" which asset classes to include.

Stefan Rockel, chief executive at Universal-Investment, noted a liberalisation was needed because it could be seen and felt daily that capital markets "fail to bring the safe returns that companies, CTAs [Contractual Trust Arrangements], life insurers, Versorgungswerke or Pensionskassen need to cover their liabilities".

In general, however, the experts were pleased with the new vehicle, and Edgar Wallach, lawyer and partner at law firm Hengeler Mueller, noted the Investment-Kommanditgesellschaft was a vehicle that was "per se – also internationally – considered tax transparent".

But Rockel added that international investors with no subsidiaries in Germany would continue to go via Luxembourg or Ireland "because of the language".