The real estate arm of German insurer Allianz Group has set up an office in London to help expand its presence and partnerships in the city and across Europe.

The €63.5bn Allianz Real Estate said the office will support the firm’s growing assets and strengthen its global footprint in areas where key partners are located.

”The new office will help drive origination and partner management for more complex cross border equity deals in Europe as well as the origination of pan-European debt activity where the asset or borrower sits in the UK,” the manager said.

It will also help develop third-party relationships with institutional investors based in London.

The manager has appointed Kari Pitkin as head of business development across Europe and Shripal Shah as head of debt origination - London, to lead the team serving the UK and pan-European clients.

Pitkin joins from Bank of America Merrill Lynch where she held the position of head of EMEA real estate and lodging, having joined the firm in 2005. Shah will join on 1 August. Since 2002 Shah covered senior positions in international real estate banking at Barclays Bank and HSBC before joining JCRA, where he has been head of real estate since 2016.

London has become an increasingly significant market for the company over the past two years, during which time it has completed a number of transactions.

In February this year, Allianz Real Estate in a UK student housing partnership with Greystar Real Estate Partners and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board has bought the Paul St East asset in London for £160m. In April, the firm financed a multi-let Southbank Central office asset in London for €200m for an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group.

This transaction represented a further London prime debt investment following financing for St Katharine Docks, 55 Baker Street and 80 Fenchurch Street, the manager said.

Francois Trausch, CEO, Allianz Real Estate, said: “Allianz Real Estate is committed to developing its portfolio in the UK. We have been successfully growing our assets in this market since 2017 but to enhance this further we have decided to open an office in London.

“London remains highly influential in a European and global context, and we believe there are excellent opportunities for growth and increased capital allocation.”

Roland Fuchs, head of European debt, Allianz Real Estate, said: “London has become a prime debt market for us and we have a large, growing number of partnerships with stakeholders based in the city.

“The success of our recently launched Luxembourg regulated European debt platform, which has included deals in the UK, and our related push into third-party funds in 2019 means now is a very appropriate time to expand our presence further.”