DENMARK – Sampension's property investment team has now become part of the pension fund's alternatives team, following the retirement of long-time real estate chief Henrik Kolind.

Kolind, who was head of real estate at the DKK185bn (€25bn) labour market pension fund for more than 30 years, will not be replaced.

Instead, head of equities and alternatives Anne Charlotte Mark is now leading property investment as part of alternative investment.

Mark told IPE: "We have been preparing Henrik's retirement for some time now.

"The real estate team has been integrated into my group through the last couple of years.

"The plan has been to build an alternatives team that works across the different alternative asset classes – real estate, private equity, timber and infrastructure."

Before retiring, Kolind worked four days a week for about a year and made a great effort to transfer a lot of his knowledge to the group, Mark said.

"We will not hire a new head of real estate since I head up the alternative team," she said.

"However, we have increased the team, and, on top of that, we are now using resources more efficiently across asset classes."
Mark emphasised that real estate remained a very important asset class for Sampension, taking up half of the pension fund's allocation to alternatives.

At the end of 2011, Sampension had a 4% allocation to property.

"Our strategy is to invest directly in Denmark and the UK and go with funds elsewhere," she said.

While the pension fund's allocation has been primarily to Europe, Sampension made its first foray into the US market in 2011, making a commitment to a US real estate fund.

"We made another commitment in 2012, and we are still seeking more US exposure," Mark said.