REAL ESTATE - Pension funds’ adoption of new models for new markets paid off at the IPE Real Estate Awards last night as investors collected prizes for geographical diversification and the move into indirect investment.

The awards, announced at a gala during the IPE Real Estate Investor Forum in Amsterdam, recognise investors and service providers for performance, transparency and innovation in the real estate sector.

This year’s outstanding industry contribution award went to the Danish Club, a consortium of five Danish pension funds that in 2004 joined forces to invest €400m in real estate outside their domestic market. This year the five – PKA, Pen Sam, Kommunernes, PFA Invest and Finanssektorens – collaborated to invest in indirect property vehicles.

The Small European Investor award went to French pension fund Corem, which reallocated its real estate from a Paris-based residential portfolio to a return-increasing geographically diversified portfolio that also invested in other property segments.

The judges praised the fund for showing that smaller investors “can restructure, diversify and reinvest in a short period, and, by an innovative strategy of working with other institutional investors, that they can invest in real estate opportunities across Europe”.

In the mid-sized category, Fund Nordrheinische Aerzterversorgung (NAEV) – the German fund for medical professionals – impressed the judges with its three-tier pyramid structure, its willingness to share its processes with other funds, and its risk-adjusted asset allocation model.

KLM pension fund Blue Sky won the award for best large investor for its market-focused move to indirect investment. The judges said: “The benefits of combining the passive and active approaches are clear. The clever bit has been the implementation of the index strategy, making it a European winner.”

Mercer took the award for best service provider.