Insurance Asset Risk Awards 2021 - UK & Europe

Alternatives manager of the year - DWS

Of the roughly €100bn ($120bn) of alternatives that DWS runs globally, about 11% is for Europe's insurers. It includes property, infrastructure, direct lending, private equity and sustainable debt/equity.

Mark Fehlmann, head of European insurance coverage, said: "We continue to witness an increasing trend [among insurers] to move further into private credit, real estate, and infrastructure, and we expect them to make up an increasing share of our alternatives client mix in the future."

DWS's recent innovations for European insurers include a direct lending strategy for European private loans, which is a co-investment vehicle enabling participation in the mid-market senior loan space.

DWS has also worked with life firms in the multi-family real estate debt market, particularly in the US. The focus is on 10- and 15-year debt instruments, with pre-payment protection mechanisms, which Peter McGloughlin, head of insurance coverage for UK and Ireland, said "work well for liability matching. Significant spread widening in March and April 2020 presented exceptional investment opportunities [in these]".

Judges praised the "broad, strong offering" and DWS's "creative approach to developing products that help insurers to deliver positive returns".

Looking ahead DWS sees opportunity to incorporate environmental, social and governance principles into infrastructure and private real estate debt across Europe. "These types of strategies could have appeal as insurers continue to move into private debt," Fehlmann said. "We remain very active in residential real estate and we think the private rented sector, in particular, with its stable cash flows targeting a net 5.5%, could have appeal to insurers in 2021."