GERMANY - The €10bn German pension fund Nordrheinische Ärzteversorgung (NAEV) is planning to invest in infrastructure for the first time ever this year.

The pension fund for medical professionals in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia had been given the go-ahead to allocate capital to the asset class, but is only now ready to begin investing.

Herman Aukamp, chief investment officer, said: "We have studied the infrastructure market for quite some time now, and we are now looking to do investments - hopefully this year. If not, we will pursue it again next year."

He added: "We are really looking into this new field of investments, and hopefully by the end of the year, we can show our new infrastructure investments."

NAEV, which will at first concentrate on Europe, is looking across the full range of infrastructure sectors.

"We are open to different sectors at the moment, and we are not yet decided where to go," Aukamp said.

Infrastructure is viewed as being both real estate-like and bond-like and so will be treated as its own asset class within the pension fund's alternative bracket.

Aukamp said: "People on the real estate side will work on it together with the people from the bond side."

NAEV is also concentrating on new investments in the German residential real estate sector, although the pension fund is also open to new office investments in Germany.

Aukamp said the focus was on new, energy-efficient residential developments in central locations in the five biggest cities in Germany.