Investor interest in shares surged in the first half of this year in Germany. Retail investment funds there saw high levels of new money coming into equity funds, partly at the expense of money market vehicles.

Of DM21.6bn of new investment in retail funds in the six-month period, DM15.6bn was aimed at equity funds, the Federation of Investment Banks in Germany (BVI) said.

Interest in equity investment among German invest-ors has increased significantly in the last few months," the federation said. "This is true for direct investment, but it is also expressed in indirect share ownership via investment funds."

Most of this new investment in retail equity funds - DM8.2bn - went to those with a special emphasis on international investment, while DM5.9bn in new money flowed into equity funds with a general international emphasis. Share funds with a German bias saw inflows of DM1.6bn, said the BVI.

In the second quarter, new investment in equity funds slowed to DM6.7bn from DM8.9bn marks in the first quarter. Total assets held by German retail funds rose to DM479.3bn by the end of June 1997, up 12% since the beginning of the year and 15% from the same time the year before. Spezialfonds, which are designed for the institutional market, saw their total assets rise 23% so far this year to DM483bn.

Mixed funds saw new in-vestment of DM900m while money market funds witnessed net outflows of DM6.3bn. The BVI attributed these outflows to in-vestors shifting assets into other fund groups, particularly equity funds.

Property funds saw new investment of DM6.4bn in the half-year period, bringing total assets to DM78.0bn, the federation said.

Rachel Fixsen"