Unicredit real asset manager WealthCap plans 50% AUM rise to €15bn

Gabriele Volz © LinkedIn

WealthCap, the Munich-based real assets' manager of the Unicredit bank group, aims to boost AUM by half to €15bn by 2020, and MD Gabriele Volz says a doubling of yearly purchases to €2bn will focus on mixed-use, changes in mobility and the growing role of urban quarters.

Part of the HypoVereinsbank unit of Unicredit, WealthCap, founded in 2007, is targeting real assets such as aircraft alongside real estate for the expansion though property remains the dominant part of the €10bn already under management, Volz told the German Immobilien Zeitung newspaper last week. Direct investments so far have mainly targeted German core and core-plus assets, while its indirect channels invest in international funds with more of a value-add approach. WealthCap aims for returns in the former of 3% to 5% p.a., and in the latter, primarily for institutional and semi-institutional clients, IRR of 5% to 9% p.a. It has committed equity with fund managers EQT, Triton, BlackrockCBRE Global Investors and Macquarie.

In real estate, the group aims at doubling annual acquisitions to around €2bn in the coming few years - about half each in direct and indirect, Volz told the IZ. She added separately to the IPE Real Assets portal: "We achieved a tremendous amount of growth in previous years. For specialised activities, we cooperate with the best partners."

Volz outlined the main elements of the WealthCap strategy to the Frankfurt conference of BIIS valuation association last Monday, saying that any property asset expansion looking to the future must pay more attention to the impact of science and digitalisation on life- and workstyles. Mixed-used buildings in urban locations will take more prominence.

"Mobility and urban nodes will be central factors in the future, mainly because of driverless cars," Volz told the conference. "The urban quarter will increase in importance, where people's basic needs will all be covered in one place; food provision, energy and basic necessities all need to be handled where people live. Mixed-use buildings will take on more importance; retail in the suburbs is a model whose time is running out." She added: "This dynamic development is likely to go much faster than we all want, so it is important to focus on these things already today."

In German retail, WealthCap is working with IPH Handelsimmobilien which this March will take over management of four shopping centres that WealthCap owns in Chemnitz, Jena, Potsdam and Ulm. For future retail though Volz wants to focus primarily on specialist parks and local suppliers such as community supermarkets. "I find shopping centres difficult," she told IZ, and expects to be a seller going forward. Conversely, on the buyer side, the group will focus about €1bn of its annual acquisition program on other retail, logistics and residential real estate, segments in which it has not been very active until now. The other half of its yearly real estate additions will comprise WealthCap's more traditional asset class, office.