UBS Asset Management has won the mandate to manage the first pan-European real estate investments of Italian insurer Poste Vita.

Poste Vita has committed an initial €300m – which could be extended to €500m – to invest in core euro-zone office markets.

UBS Asset Management saw off competition from as many a large roster of companies, according to Poste Vita’s head of real estate Marco Plazzotta.

“We selected UBS-AM following a competitive request for proposal from 150 international real estate asset managers,” said Plazzotta, who joined Poste Vita in 2014 from Allianz Real Estate Italy to head up a real estate investments platform from Rome.

A low interest-rate environment, he said, meant the Poste Vita was diversifying its portfolio to include international real estate.

The UBS-Diamond Eurozone Offices fund (UBS-DEO) will focus on new or recently developed offices with high occupancy and secured by long-term leases.

Prime locations within the top 10 to 15 cities in the euro-zone are being targeted, with assets ranging in size from €50m to €100m. Leverage will be kept under 30%.

Marco Doglio, head of UBS Global Real Estate in Italy, said Florian Kutz, former head of the Nordic region, will relocate from Frankfurt to Milan.

As reported in October last year, Poste Vita was close to awarding a mandate to invest in European real estate for the first time. 

The institution has been looking to invest via an indirect, tailored fund-based strategy in euro-zone properties since early 2015.

Poste Vita could allocate as much as 3% to the asset class, IPE Real Estate reported in February 2015.