NETHERLANDS - ING Real Estate Investment Management (ING REIM) has shuffled its European management team ahead of the launch of the firm's first healthcare property fund.

Wietse de Vries, currently head of the institutional business in Europe, will manage the €800m fund, scheduled for launch later this year.

ING REIM CEO Pieter Hendrikse said the fund - focused on the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany - would broaden its product base "at the request of clients".

"It's not the core business - it's very different from the funds we already have," he told IPE Real Estate.  "It needs strong leadership and a strong team with a good track record. That's why we brought in a very senior manager to manage it. It takes a senior manager to attract investors."

The fund will target long-term investors with time horizons of 10—20 years, not necessarily those with a value-added strategy. "It's a duration play," said Hendrikse.

"There's an appetite among sophisticated investors who can formulate their own diversification strategies." He said there was also traction in the fund for inclusion in fund-of-funds looking for exposure to five or six sectors.

However, he was unwilling to identify the target return because "we're still in the feasibility stage", he said.

Max de Groot will take over from de Vries as head of European institutional clients, from his current role as acquisitions director for Central and Eastern Europe. The shift from Central and Eastern Europe did not indicate a fading appetite for the region. Max "wants to play a pan-European role. It's a promotion but he has the track record for it," said Hendrikse.

A statement said the management changes would allow the firm "to maintain our growth momentum". Among the other changes is the appointment of European acquisitions head Will Rowson as chief investment officer.