The share of mandates outsourced by German corporate pension funds more than doubled in the past two years, from 30% of portfolio assets to over 70%, according to Greenwich Associates.

The US-based consultant said the data confirmed a trend towards greater diversification of assets, which in turn had created a need for more specialised managers.

However, the researchers warned that “the shift won’t benefit all managers”.

“To the contrary, demand for core fixed income managers is collapsing,” Greenwich Associates noted in its report. Since 2015, the share of institutions expecting to hire a fixed income manager over the following 12 months dropped from over 12% to below 3%.

The only fixed income sector in which investors expect to increase investments is emerging market debt.

At the same time, more investors plan to hire managers for alternatives and real estate allocations.

Greenwich also assessed the socially responsible investment (SRI) trends of the survey’s 240 respondents.

“As a population, Germans are right in step with other Europeans in terms of their commitment and even passion for environmental and social issues,” said Markus Ohlig, managing director at Greenwich Associates. “But at the moment, it seems there is some disconnect between those cultural attitudes and the governance of large institutions.”

In Germany, the share of institutional investors considering SRI as an important feature in their manager selection process was “among the lowest in Europe”, Greenwich reported.

While in the Netherlands 97% of investors thought it was important to include SRI in the criteria for manager selection, only 32% of German institutions agreed.

Only Switzerland had a lower share at 24%, while the UK and France each recorded 53%.

Greenwich interviewed 240 German institutional investors including retirement providers, banks, insurers, foundations and supranationals during the first quarter of 2018.