GERMANY -- German institutional fund provider Union Investment has recorded €3.7bn in net investor inflows last year.

The inflows helped lift Union Investment’s total institutional assets under management (AUM) to €46.8bn at end-2004 from €42.1bn a year earlier.

However, 75% of the €46.8bn in assets are from German co-operative banks, which are Union’s shareholders. The remaining 25% of the assets come from other institutional investors.

Union said the growth in its institutional business was largely due to strong demand for its guaranteed value funds, marketed under the IMMUNO label.

It added that other institutional growth came from demand for equity funds managed by Union Panagora. Launched in 1999, Union Panagora is a joint venture between Union and Boston-based asset manager Panagora that specialises in a quantitative approach to investing.

Finally, Union said demand for its corporate bonds as well as hedge funds drove some of the growth last year, adding that all four factors would be behind a further unspecified increase this year.

Union said it expects its German-domiciled hedge funds to take in €200-400m in institutional and retail assets this year. Union’s four fund-of-hedge funds already manage more than €430m, making it Germany’s largest provider of these products.

With respect to the long-term outlook, Union said it aimed to boost its share of the German institutional fund market to 10% by 2010. Its current market share is 7.9%,, ranking it fourth, according to recent statistics from German fund industry association BVI.

By 2010, Union also aims to boost the share of assets outside of co-operative banks to 40% of its total AUM.