EUROPE - Clwyd pension fund's independent adviser is leaving his role on a high note next month as the Welsh local authority fund was crowned the king of IPE Real Estate's Awards in Berlin yesterday, winning four awards including Best European Institutional Investor.

Ralph Greening, independent adviser and trustee to the £820m (€1.03bn) pension fund, collected the top accolade of the IPE Real Estate Awards 2008 for its excellence in the application of real estate assets to pension fund management, and more particularly for pushing new ideas within that framework over the last five years.

As well as being named to receive the European investor platinum award, Clwyd won best small European institutional investor, best UK/Ireland institutional investor, as well as best use of private equity in real estate.

During his speeches, Greening said he was honoured to receive so many awards on behalf of Flintshire County Council and felt it was a good note in which to finish his career with Clwyd, as he will be retiring as a trustee on June 30.

The remaining platinum award went to Paul McNamara, head of research at Prupim "for being at the cutting edge of real estate developments in derivatives and sustainability, notably acting as co-chair of the UNEP FI Property Working Group" according to comments presented by voters.

There were other major winners and Danish real estate expertise shone through, as Folksam collected three awards winning best large European institutional investor - for schemes with assets of over €750m - along with best institutional investor in the Nordic countries and best innovation for creating a new type of real estate hybrid of fund of funds and separate account, according to comments from the judges.

Folksam fought tough Danish competition for its large investor award, as those on the shortlist included ATP and PenSam's Kommunernes Pensionsforsikring a/s, which had earlier been presented two silver awards for best indirect investment and best portfolio construction.

Rival Danish fund FSP Pension was presented a gold award as best medium European institutional investor while Mercer was voted best investment consultant by IPE Real Estate's readers.

At the same time, Corem was named best Benelux/France investor, and Westfalen-Lippe Doctors fund (Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe) won the Austria/Germany/Switzerland regional award, while BT pension scheme was rewarded for its core investment strategy and Vital won best direct investment.

Winners at the IPE Real Estate Awards attended a dinner in Berlin, Germany, following the IPE Real Estate Forum. (Further details of the event will be published on IPE Real next week)

The full list of winners at the IPE Real Estate Awards 2008 is as follows:

Best European Institutional Investor, Clwyd
Outstanding Industry Contribution, Paul McNamara

Best Large European Institutional Investor, Folksam
Best Medium European Institutional Investor, FSP Pension
Best Small European Institutional Investor, Clwyd
Best Investment Consultancy, Mercer

Best Institutional Investor in Benelux/France, Corem
Best Institutional Investor in Austria/Germany/Switzerland, Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe
Best Institutional Investor in the Nordic countries, Folksam
Best Institutional Investor in the UK/Ireland, Clwyd

Best Core Investment, BT Pension Scheme
Best Direct Investment, Vital
Best Indirect Investment, Kommunernes Pensionsforsikring a/s
Best Innovation, Folksam
Best Portfolio Construction, Kommunernes Pensionsforsikring a/s
Best use of Private Equity, Clwyd