GERMANY - The German regulator BaFin has approved Universal Investment's application to issue real estate Spezialfonds, making it the latest company to join a growing list of Kapitalanlagegesellschaft (KAG) businesses.

In order to offer Spezialfonds - specialist vehicles created for German institutional investors - companies are required to set up a KAG and obtain regulatory approval for each asset class they intend to cover.

Universal said the establishment of a real estate platform within its Master-KAG structure "was a logical extension in order to offer institutional investors all major asset classes" from one provider.

Bernd Vorbeck, board member at Universal Investment, said: "Our service offer for the administration of real estate is already met with great interest and we are both implementing the first mandates as well as holding several talks with institutional investors and asset managers."

KAG services can be marketed to real estate fund managers preferring to avoid the costs and time resources involved in establishing an internal KAG.

At least two other companies this year have set up KAG structures to offer real estate Spezialfonds: the Westfälische Grundbesitz und Finanzverwaltung, WGF group, and GlobalFirst-Assets.

According to the the annual study of real estate Spezialfonds sector by the German investment industry association BVI - formerly known as the Kandlbinder report - four new companies joined the list of real estate KAGs in 2010, bringing the total to more than 30.   

For a full analysis of the latest BVI report, which looks at real estate strategies and capital inflows into real estate Spezialfonds, see the November/December issue of IP Real Estate.