DENMARK - Investment manager Michael Weischer has quit PenSam, the Danish public-sector pension scheme, to advise other pension funds on real estate indirect investment.
The €6.3bn fund has yet to select a successor when Weischer leaves at the end of June after nine years with the fund.
Weischer told IPE Real Estate Danish pension funds’ interest in indirect real estate investment had grown substantially in recent years with the trend towards international diversification. A paucity of expertise meant most external help to choose between "extremely serious" funds and those "set up by newcomers".
"If you want to go international, you can choose between direct versus indirect [real estate] but it’s difficult to diversify in direct," he said.
"Say you’ve only got room in your portfolio for three or four properties: you don’t get diversification by acquiring one in Rome, one in Brussels and one in Dusseldorf. Investors interested in diversification through indirect investment in real estate need help getting through the jungle it is.
He continued: "Pension funds have two choices. They can build up expertise internally or seek external help. It’s hard to find someone with expertise in this field, even if the area is significant enough for the fund to fill the position.
"Pen-Sam changed from managing the assets themselves to managing managers of outsourced mandates. Pension funds need more expertise and sophistication in indirect real estate."
Weischer, who is also chairman of the Danish Real Estate Club, will set up a partnership with Jones Lang Lasalle’s corporate finance team, an operation he described as "probably the best team in Europe on the indirect real estate business".
The firm last week added to its indirect team former Cushman & Wakefield fund analyst Ashley Marks.
The venture will target a clientele of Danish pension funds and life insurance firms with Invensure, a consultancy. Invensure added a fund manager selection arm last year, providing Mercer’s tools to Danish pension funds and insurance firms.