GERMANY/IRELAND – DePfa Bank, the German public finance bank, has announced an initiative to branch into asset management with the establishment of an in-house fund aimed at global institutional investors.

A spokesman at the bank said that no exact details had been formalised, but the fund would concentrate on high-grade converging market debt. The fund will be marketed and managed in-house and sold to global institutional investors.

The move into asset management in the fixed income sector marks an expansion of DePfa’s business. Further innovation by the German bank in the fixed interest sector is apparent with its plan to launch the first Irish covered bond.

DePfa ACS Bank, an Irish subsidiary of DePfa Bank plans to issue the Irish ‘pfandbrief’ in the first quarter of this year.

Rumoured to be between two and five billion euros in size with a triple A rating, the Irish covered bond is based on the German pfandbrief model and will be the first of its kind. It will offer a greater degree of investor comfort than it German equivalent, says DePfa, which should provide some relief to those investors fearful of asset quality in Germany following the downgrading of several pfandbrief issuers.