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IC Immobilien Gruppe and HIH Property Management GmbH restructure management

IC Immobilien Gruppe and HIH Property Management GmbH restructure management

  • Bettina Höffmann joins management of IC Property Management GmbH
  • Operational management of IC Property Management GmbH to also be responsibility of HPM in the future
  • Markus Reinert FRICS, André Vollbach and Uwe Koch concentrating on the management of the holding company and the in-tegration of both companies

Frankfurt am Main, 09.11.2022 – At the end of 2021 HIH Property Management GmbH (HPM) and IC Immobilien Gruppe merged and commenced with the corresponding integration process. The two companies have continually grown together in the past months.

With the appointment of André Vollbach und Uwe Koch as additional managing directors of IC Immobilien Holding GmbH as of 7 September 2022 the management capacity of the holding company has been increased. While Markus Reinert and André Vollbach will concentrate on the operational and strategic development of the business model, as an experienced integration manager Uwe Koch will provide support on an interim basis with regard to the amalgamation of the two companies.

As the next step in the merger of HPM and IC Property Management GmbH to form one strong joint property management company Bettina Höffmann, Sabine Giesen-Kirchhofer, Michael Greis and Karsten Körper-Fitzgerald have been appointed to the management of HPM as of 1 October 2022 and thus replace the previous HPM managing directors, André Vollbach and Markus Reinert.

Parallel to this Bettina Höffmann was also appointed in October 2022 as an additional managing director of IC Property Management GmbH. Together the four managing directors will be responsible for the commercial, technical and accounting property management of both companies at management level. They will be supported by a team of experienced managers, made up of representatives of both companies.

The restructuring of the two companies’ management bodies is intended to ensure that the new joint property management company is able to continually develop with the know-how of IC Immobilien Gruppe and HPM, while at the same time the entire IC Immobilien Gruppe is strengthened on a sustainable basis by the merger.


IC Immobilien is taking its time with the complete take-over of HIH Property Management. Among other things this is intended to make the change easier for the employees. In other respects the managing directors Markus Reinert and André Vollbach also set store by slow growth.

By Florian Hartmüller

Immobilien Zeitung 15/2022 from 14.4.2022

"Two partners have finally been able to link up after a long period of waiting," explains Markus Reinert. He has been the CEO of IC Immobilien Holding since 2015, and for a few months now he has also been a managing director of HIH Property Management alongside André Vollbach. Last year IC had acquired 51% of the shares in HPM from HIH Real Estate. The remaining 49% are set to follow in 2023. Until then HPM is operating as a joint venture.

"We were often competitors, the strategic orientation was identical in recent years," explains Reinert. By bundling resources and financial wherewithal, among other things it is now easier to shoulder investment requirements. The merger is "not just a good step for us, but also for the market". Together IC and HPM have about 500 employees who look after assets under management of between 23 and 24 billion euros. These are accounted for by more than 800 properties with a total of some 9 million square metres of leasable space, with each company contributing about half. The joint venture thus ranks among the three largest property management providers in Germany according to Reinert. Quality not size is of "the highest priority", however. "We are very down-to-earth, and our objective is to grow continuously and in the long term, with the gradual acquisition of new customers."

The largest customer of HPM, with about 60% of the mandates, is HIH Real Estate, as Vollbach explains. Following the complete take-over by IC the corresponding mandates are to be retained. The remaining 40% are accounted for by Generali and Real I.S., among others.

IC regards itself as a "full service provider" with property management as its core business according to Reinert. In this line of business the company had exclusively been active as a third-party manager, working in equal parts for German and for international customers. Among the clients are Amundi Asset Management, for whom IC manages 20 properties in Germany, as well as Meag and Wealthcap. The complete range of services on the part of IC, which also includes asset management, leasing management and project management for example, is also to be offered to the clients of HPM in the future.

Reinert says both companies intend to utilise 2022 to jointly deal with all the topics associated with the take-over. Each company is contributing "in more or less equal parts" about 250 staff to the total number of employees, although only about 130 staff at IC are employed in the field of property management in the narrower sense. Some structures will be maintained in parallel for a number of months, however.

"We want to maintain the levels of motivation on the part of the teams and not create any unease in the companies," explains Reinert. The first months have shown "that we have very definitely made the right decision". Thus, for instance, there has hardly been any fluctuation in this time. And in view of the current lack of specialist staff nobody is to be released. "It is not our intention to lose one single employee." On the contrary, in the first quarter of 2022 IC has recruited ten employees, and HPM as many as 15, as Vollbach adds. Additional employees are being sought.

The joint venture has eight offices in major German cities and in Chemnitz. In what was formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt only IC Immobilien was represented prior to the merger, and it was from here that the company looked after the lion's share of the market in eastern Germany with a team of 25 employees. HPM also contributed a branch office in Cologne. In 2023 it is intended to amalgamate the offices which are still duplicated at all the other locations. Until then an analysis is to be conducted as to how everything can be best reorganised. One important area in which Reinert is hoping for further progress thanks to the take-over is the field of ESG. "A pilot project is currently being conducted in about 50 properties of HIH Real Estate," explains Vollbach. Here smart meter-capable gas and electricity meters are being installed; these not only record consumption but also transfer the data digitally. In the long term the corresponding technology is to be deployed in other properties managed by the joint venture.

In addition to the take-over there have been other innovations at IC in recent months. Thus, for instance, since March 2021 there has been a strategic cooperation with Cushman & Wakefield (C&W). In this manner Reinert wishes to address the "high demand" for property and asset management on the part of international investors. These often wish to have one provider for a portfolio which encompasses properties in several countries.

The idea behind the partnership is that Cushman & Wakefield is addressed in the framework of a bidding process and IC then assumes the management of the German properties. "We have passed the acid test," says Reinert. Thus there are already two mandates from "renowned international companies". One of these involves 50 properties belonging to an insurance company. Of these 40 are located in Spain and the Netherlands, and ten in Germany. In this respect Cushman & Wakefield is taking care of the properties abroad, IC those in Germany. With the second mandate there are two properties in Germany.

To date IC has exclusively managed properties in Germany, but Reinert is considering "risking the cross-border move". If this comes about it will involve properties in the DACH region and probably mandates in Switzerland rather than in Austria. The CEO expects that the assumption of the corresponding mandates by IC will take place in 2023 at the earliest. With regard to another topic Reinert has also looked abroad. He expects a downturn in business when it comes to new leases as a consequence of the war in Ukraine. "We will have to prepare ourselves for somewhat difficult years." In crises the demands made by investors on property and asset management tend to be greater, however, he says. "Then it is a question of intervening to a greater extent and trying to retain value or even increasing this where possible." In this area Reinert expects a "more positive effect", however.



More than 13 years after the issuance of the first “Green Building” certification in Germany the industry seems further than ever away from a uniform sustainability standard.

Investors and project developers have the choice of whether they prefer one of the European certificates or an American equivalent – or whether they wish to utilise both forms of certification by way of precaution.

Each of these certificates has differing quality levels such as Silver, Gold and Platinum – whereby in individual cases the platinum standards from 2015 would no longer merit a gold award with one and the same system.

Status quo: Property managers face the “burden” of having a free choice

Although these certificates and systems encompass widely varying sustainability criteria, they do not form any kind of framework for action or guideline which could be used by property managers in the German-speaking regions. Such a framework is provided by the Disclosure Regulation and by the EU Taxonomy Directive, which has been in effect since January 1 of this year, however.

One could maintain that the directives are merely aimed at the fund management or at very most the asset management. But the actual impact is felt in the daily work across all areas, which is why the focus is also on the property management.

Ultimately it is left to each property manager to decide, on the one hand, in what way the ESG targets and corresponding measures to attain these targets are implemented in daily work and, on the other hand, how they are integrated into the overriding corporate strategy.

Property managers are free to choose, therefore, whether they want to only fulfil the necessary minimum requirements or whether they want to keep one step ahead of future regulations.

It has to be borne in mind, however, to what extent a property manager acting in a less sustainable manner can do justice to the requirements of investors who are increasingly becoming more ESG-oriented.

Given this confusing constellation and the largely voluntary nature of more complex sustainability measures it is no surprise that initiatives such as GRESB and ECORE have set themselves the objective of making widely differing real estate portfolios comparable with one another in the field of sustainability, and thus ultimately also of allowing for a more transparent assessment of the work of the property management.

The legislation per se does not provide for any uniformity

Alongside the different certification systems, other bodies of rules such as the afore-mentioned EU Taxonomy Directive also play a role. But quite apart from the fact that these are two different systems, which in part overlap, there are investors who limit themselves to just some of the respective evaluation criteria.

Yet although each new list of criteria and each revision of existing regulatory requirements leads to further differentiation, they do – surprisingly – also provide important impetus for a long-awaited framework for action.

To a large extent the differing certification systems and initiatives do at least promote a uniform data set, for instance with regard to current consumption or the volume of waste incurred.

Ultimately these lists of criteria and data sets can be utilised in parallel to the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), the German Sustainability Codex or the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), for example, so as to develop a suitable strategy and subsequently implement this in an efficient manner.

But naturally somebody has to perform the groundwork, defining and clarifying the available parameters and their impact.

More individualisation and standardisation

The data, which had previously been available haphazardly and in the best-possible case in Excel tables at property level, have been gathered by property managers in a systematic manner and stored centrally for some years now. Such data sets are becoming more and more extensive, for example with the installation of smart metering systems, but also due to the fact that for many properties a comparison over a timeframe of many years is possible in the meantime.

The practice of bundling the conclusion of framework agreements with operating companies also contributes to standardisation in daily management work.

At the same time such an approach allows for greater flexibility in investor reporting: if the data can be downloaded at the push of a button, it becomes even easier to amend these in line with the widely differing requirements of the individual investors and systems.

In other words the increasing pace of digitalisation and greater transparency in property management are ensuring that the processes are not just documented, but are constantly being optimised. As a consequence, best cases at property level can be profitably applied to the entire portfolio.

In this manner the property management is moving towards establishing standards and shaping the framework for action for the entire industry.

André Vollbach, Managing Director, HIH Property Management GmbH, Hamburg