GERMANY - German-based fund manager IVG Immobilien, which has €22.7bn of assets under management, is planning to broaden its client base.

German clients account for some 90% of IVG's business and the company has around 30% of the Spezialfonds market, almost four times that of its nearest rival.

Aside from one Dutch investor, the remainder of its client are Swiss and Austrian. However, Ferdinand von Sydow, managing director for institutional funds at Bonn-headquartered IVG, told IPE Real Estate: "From 2010 we want to start cultivating a more international clientele. Our aim is that within five years the international client base will account for between a quarter and a third of the total."

He continued: "We will also be speaking to Asian investors. US investors, on the other hand, are more reticent regarding investment in Germany, except where possible distress situations are concerned."

He suggested IVG could use co-investment as a way to align interests going forward.

"Fee structures are important but we believe co-investment is the only way to show the client you believe in the product," said von Sydow.

Von Sydow said it had been a challenge to learn the needs of clients in countries the company was planning to enter for the first time, but noted: "Over the past two years, larger foreign investors have tended to move away from discretionary mandates towards the German Spezialfonds model where they have greater involvement in the decision-making process."

He suggested this kind of club deal worked best with up to five members.

"Above that figure dialogue is still possible but the decision-making process becomes much more difficult," said von Sydow.