Italian insurer Poste Vita is to invest in real estate for the first time.

IPE understands that the Poste Italiane subsidiary could allocate approximately 3% to the asset class.

Poste Vita had €84bn in assets in June 2014, according to most recently published figures. A 3% allocation would necessitate the creation of a property portfolio worth €2.4bn. 

The institution is looking to invest in Italy and abroad via an indirect, fund-based strategy, IPE understands.

Poste Vita has sought advice from a major investment consultancy and LaSalle Investment Management. The wider Poste Italiane group, which is expected to be floated on the Italian stock exchange, is already advised by Towers Watson.

Last year, Marco Plazzotta, former Allianz Real Estate Italy director, was hired to head up the real estate investments platform from Rome.

Poste Vita and LaSalle did not comment.

The move into real estate for Poste Vita is unlikely to affect Poste Italiane’s portfolio of branches, which it holds via its Europa Gestioni Immobiliari (EGI) subsidiary. The portfolio, according to articles in the Italian press last year, has a book value of €150m and market value of around €400m.

Poste Vita is not alone in looking to invest beyond Italy’s borders. Late last year, Generali Real Estate – already significantly invested in foreign real estate – appointed Andy Tan to oversee new investments in Asia.

Rome-based €7.5bn first-pillar pension fund, Inarcassa, made its first overseas real estate investments via a mandate with LaSalle last year, allocating €85m to global unlisted real estate funds.