Evangelische Zusatzversorgungskasse (EZVK), the provider of occupational pensions for the employees in the German protestant church, with close to €13bn in assets under management, is setting up a new division for alternative investments.

EZVK’s new unit will cover real estate, private equity and infrastructure investments, under the leadership of Marian Berneburg.

Berneburg, who joined EZVK in February from AIF Capital, an asset manager specialising in real estate investments on behalf of institutional investors, is responsible for setting up the new unit, expanding personnel and structure, he said in a LinkedIn post.

The fund’s allocation to alternative investments has reached 40.6% of its total assets, which also include 38.6% invested in fixed income and 20.8% in equity, according to the scheme.

EZVK’s alternative investments have increased significantly in the last year, it said.

For this reason, the fund’s executive board believes now is a good time to restructure in order to better assess challenges of alternatives investing, including risk management, strategy complexities, regulation and market distortions – and to continue to grow its portfolio, it added.

Marian Berneburg at EZVK

Marian Berneburg at EZVK

The scheme is carving out the new division from its internal asset management department, which had been led by Sabine Mahnert since 2020, it said.

Mahnert will continue to be responsible for investments in liquid asset classes, asset management controlling, strategic asset allocation, and ESG.

Berneburg joins the asset management team as head of alternatives, bringing to the table almost two decades of experience in the field of institutional investments.

He has previously also served as head of real assets at Provinzial Asset Management, and head of real estate at Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe (ÄVWL), the pension fund for doctors in Germany’s Westphalia-Lippe region.

“With Mr. Berneburg, we have found the ideal candidate for our asset management team, to further develop [investments in] alternative asset classes,” said Volker Heinke, EZVK’s board chair.

Berneburg added: “I am extremely pleased to be able to support EZVK in the further development of its alternative investments. As a supplementary pension fund, EZVK has a high degree of responsibility towards its members, that on the one hand want to be protected from losses, but on the other hand also want to take part in the opportunities [offered by] international capital markets.”

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