GERMANY - The pension fund for chartered accountants in the German province of North Rhine-Westphalia (WPV) has doubled its investment in a university student support programme.

The €1.7bn fund is now investing €10m in funds run by Brain Capital, an investment company specialising in education funds.

In October last year, WPV's investment in the theme - for which it was given an IPE award - stood at €5m.

Marc Vietor, managing director of Brain Capital, told IPE his company has set up two additional funds in recent weeks.

The new investments come mainly from institutional investors that have already invested in these funds. But there are also new investors, with Vietor citing a "German DAX company".

Brain Capital is currently cooperating with five universities, but talks with other institutions are "ongoing", he added.

Around 150 students are currently already in the re-payment phase, and from this Vietor found all of Brain Capital assumptions on re-payment confirmed.

"This will be an important information in talks with new investors," he said, adding that he found a lot of interest in the investment, but also a high need for explanation.

In total, Brain Capital is currently managing €33m, from which selected students are being granted loans to pay the tuition fees they must repay once their regular income reaches a certain threshold.

In other news, the German city and province of Hamburg has decided to invest €700m into the Hamburgischen Versorgungsfonds (HVF).

The fund was set up in 2006 to ensure retirement provision in formerly state-owned companies, as well as to manage some of the city's properties.

It has since suffered losses from its substantial holdings in HSH Nordbank - it had inherited a roughly 16% share in the company from the city.

In 2008, the book value of the HVF's holding in the bank fell by €770m, as the bank had to write down parts of its credit investments in the financial crisis.

As at the end of 2009, the €680m HVF had to report a negative equity of €316m.

Over the next three years, the city will "re-fund" the HVF with €207m for this year, €486m next year and another €35m in 2013.