GERMANY – MEAG, the asset management arm of German re-insurance giant Munich Re, has confirmed the rollout of four new “i-shares” - mutual funds targeted exclusively at institutional investors.

German investors who report under International Financial Reporting Standards and have more than 20% of assets allocated to German institutional funds (Spezialfonds) must report every single investment made by those funds.

Many German pension funds are excluded from this group as they report under German accounting standards. On the other hand, capital-market oriented investors are obliged to report under IFRS. Examples include banks, insurers and companies – including those employing external pension funds called contractual trust arrangements (CTAs).

According to MEAG, its i-shares provide an attractive alternative for investors using IAS partly because they are freed from the reporting requirement.

“Moreover, mutual funds for institutional investors are attractive owing to their daily valuations on exchanges and their liquidity,” it said.

The asset manager added that it aimed to take in “several hundred million euros” with the i-shares in 2006. They include a money-market fund, a bond fund and two equity funds.

MEAG is just one of many asset managers active in Germany to have launched i-shares following the emergence of IFRS.

MEAG’s traditional role was managing the insurance assets of its parent Munich Re. Yet three years ago, it began bidding for third-party business, particularly from small insurers and pension funds whom it sees as its core clients.

Since then, it has racked up almost €3bn in third-party assets, 80% of which have come from the insurers and pension funds.

Separately, MEAG said that Roger Welz had joined it on April 1 as a managing director responsible for real estate fund sales to institutional investors.

"Welz, 47, joined from German real estate fund provider Commerz Grundbesitz.