Alternative investment funds Investing in AIFs: all the essential information at a glance

15.04.2024 11 Reading Time

klimaVest: AIF Grafik mit Flugzeug, Windrad, Solarpanel und Schiff

Get all the important information about AIFs, their advantages and disadvantages, how they work and their legal basis. 


The most important facts at a glance:

  • Alternative investment funds include all investment funds that do not invest in securities (equities, fixed-income securities, etc.).
  • AIFs are divided into retail AIFs that are available to all investors and offer greater investor protection, as well as higher-risk special AIFs that are only suitable for (semi-)professional investors.
  • AIFs can be open-end or closed-end – closed-end AIFs have a fixed investment amount and are closed when this amount is reached. In principle, open-end AIFs can always accumulate more funds and continue to invest. This gives you greater availability as well as greater flexibility in terms of investment amount and maturity.
  • AIFs include open-end and closed-end real estate funds, renewable energy funds, ELTIFs or (high-risk) hedge funds.
  • AIFs often have long maturities, so investors’ capital is often tied up for several years or even decades.
  • In order to protect investors, the German Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch: KAGB) sets out precise criteria that must be met when launching an AIF, such as the obligation to publish their investment conditions or the principle of risk spreading (especially applicable to open-end retail AIFs). 

Investors do not always know what alternative investment funds are. They are often primarily associated with particularly extravagant or exclusive assets.  

In reality, they are pretty straightforward: AIFs include all funds that are not securities funds, i.e. equity funds or bond funds. Even ordinary open-end real estate funds fall into a narrow interpretation of the AIF category. 

When discussing AIFs in professional circles, this usually refers to alternative investment funds, which have a lot more to offer than traditional funds. They should be innovative and diverse in terms of content and, above all, offer interesting potential returns

One thing is certain: for investors, alternative funds are highly popular as they not only achieve returns, but also profitability for the portfolio. As a result, AIFs do not really live up to their reputation as a particularly exclusive and high-risk product. The fact is that such alternative investments are more complex in their structure and therefore require in-depth knowledge to be on the safe side as an investor.  

In this article, we therefore provide you with all the important information about this part of the financial market so that you can feel good about your investment decision.

What are alternative investment funds?

AIFs are investments that differ from traditional securities investments such as equity funds and are independent of the stock market. AIFs are all investment funds which do not meet the criteria for Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS)

These criteria are set out in the UCITS Directive (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) and are intended to provide for the harmonisation of securities and financial market instruments offered and permitted across Europe.  

Alternative funds often make long-term investments in tangible assets , such as real estate, wind farms and aircraft. Other alternative investments include hedge funds, commodity funds and container funds. 

Since 2013, AIFs have been subject to the provisions of the German Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch: KAGB). As such, they form part of the legally regulated capital market and – like UCITS – are subject to supervision by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).  

In order to be admitted to the financial market, alternative funds or fund assets must be managed by a management company which is responsible for managing the portfolio and sometimes also the assets it contains. 

Since alternative investments do not form a separate asset class, the field of such investments is almost endless. This includes both high-risk funds with above-average potential returns and funds that can have a major impact on your portfolio’s risk diversification. 

Many alternative products are not suitable for traditional savings account investors, because a great deal of prior knowledge is required to be able to truly assess alternative investment funds. This makes them more suitable for experienced investors who, with the appropriate risk tolerance, can expect large potential returns or, in the case of similar potential returns, who prefer alternative investments with lower risk.

What is the difference between special AIFs and retail AIFs?

Retail AIFs are open to everyone. Special AIFs, on the other hand, are not suitable for retail investors due to their complexity. The German Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch: KAGB) stipulates that they may only be acquired by semi-professional or professional investors. 

This is already reflected in the minimum investment amount, which starts at around 200,000 euros for special AIFs. The minimum investment amounts in retail AIFs are generally lower, but here there are also some investments that are only available to investors from 10,000 euros.  

Some special AIFs are investment funds that usually have a fixed term, a limited number of investors and a fixed total investment amount. This means that the units and the capital invested in them are firmly tied up until the end of the term and cannot be redeemed before the end of the investment period.  

Furthermore, such funds often carry a cluster risk, as the fund assets are often invested in only one or a few specific properties, such as a property or a direct investment in a company (private equity).  

In addition, the KAGB specifies less strict regulations for special AIFs than for retail funds. The interplay of these various factors therefore makes special AIFs a particularly risky investment product, which is therefore mainly suitable for experienced investors. 

However, such risky investments also have relevant advantages. Besides the prospect of particularly lucrative returns, the advantages of special AIFs are firstly the lower costs associated with the reasonable audit and publication obligation. Secondly, special funds generally have a small group of investors, which can make communication and exchange easier between the individual parties. 

Unlike special funds, retail AIFs, or the retail investors involved, are legally protected by a large number of regulations. For this reason, retail AIFs have an obligation to publish a prospectus, which enables potential investors to get a detailed idea of the fund.  

Retail funds also publish information on their investment terms and conditions, prospectuses, the most recently published annual report and KIIDs (key investor information document). In addition, they must be able to demonstrate that interested parties have received and read the prospectus before concluding a contract.  

The law therefore protects retail investors and offers professional investors more opportunities, but always within the legal framework. Retail AIFs are often offered as closed-end funds, but can also be offered as open-end retail funds.

Which investments fall under alternative investment funds?

Here you will find a broad but not exhaustive overview of possible alternative funds:

Closed-end real estate funds

When investing in a closed-end real estate fund, you as an investor benefit directly from the success of specific residential or commercial properties at home or abroad. At the same time, such funds are associated with a high level of unavailability, meaning that the invested capital is often firmly tied in long before the groundbreaking ceremony until after completion.  

This results in specific risks, as it can be rather difficult to sell shares during the term. On the other hand, unexpected obstacles may occur in the implementation of the construction project or in the course of the planned term, such as the exit of a tenant or deviations from the forecast selling price. Such cluster risks cannot be compensated for in any other way at the spur of the moment, which is why a total loss of the investment may occur in such cases.

Ship and aircraft funds

Long maturities are also provided for in such funds. These are closed-end in most cases, and extend beyond the operating phase to the sale. The assets are leased by airlines and shipping companies, meaning that investors benefit from both the use and subsequent sale of the machines.  

Similar to closed-end real estate funds, there are cluster risks here, which can result from complications during maintenance or incorrect calculations. At the same time, the earnings opportunities offered by ships or aircraft are, in case of doubt, less transparent for the average investor.

Private equity funds

In this type of investment, non-listed companies are financed with the equity of retail investors. If the company performs well and has a good position on the market, investors benefit from distributions and the resale of units.  

In order to diversify risk, such funds often invest the capital in several companies from different sectors and regions. 

Hedge funds

These are actively managed investment funds that invest in traditional asset classes but use unconventional investment strategies to maximise profits. For example, attempts to drive up returns are made by “going short” (focusing on falling prices) or the use of levers (with relatively little equity and use of debt capital).  

However, such investment strategies also drive up the associated risks, which is why investing in hedge funds is considered an extremely daring investment.

Fund for renewable energies

Investment funds, that invest in renewable energies are experiencing high demand and strong growth trends. These funds usually have a thematic focus, for example, they can invest in wind power. The demand for renewable energies has been steadily increasing in recent years, now accounting for more than half of Germany's electricity mix. This also leads to an increase in demand and supply of funds for renewable energies in the financial market. Due to their high popularity and the constant advancement of necessary technologies, funds for renewable energies are now considered stable and crisis-resistant investments.

ELTIFs (European Long-Term Investment Funds)

This form of investment has been in place since 2015 and aims to promote long-term investments in the European real economy. These are primarily illiquid investment opportunities, such as infrastructure or tangible assets such as solar power plants, but can also include companies.

ELTIFs are diversified and strictly regulated to provide investors and companies with the greatest possible protection for long-term investments. To this end, a minimum investment amount of 10,000 euros has been set, which in turn must represent at least 10% of the respective total investable assets. In this way, ELTIFs ensure that only a small proportion of individual investment assets are tied up in the long term.

Other noteworthy but less prominent types of alternative investment funds are:

Microfinance funds

Here, the fund assets are invested in microfinance institutions, which in turn grant microloans to small business ventures in emerging or developing countries. The amounts of such microloans are usually below 100 US dollars.

Film fund

As the name suggests, these funds invest in film and TV productions. More well-known films that have so far been financed by such funds are “Terminator 3” and “The Trixxer”.

Guarantee fund

Guarantee funds may tend to target risk-averse investors, however, they also have certain pitfalls. Although they guarantee repayment of the original investment amount or a percentage thereof at the end of the term, the return on this type of investment is significantly lower compared to a direct investment.

Green AIFs = double the return?

The economic and political uncertainties of recent years have shown, especially regarding our energy industry, the challenges we face - and the solutions available to us. Renewable energies play a central role in making our energy industry more stable, independent, and future-proof. 

Thanks to the increasing demand for renewable energies, their popularity in the financial market is also growing. The Renewable Energy Fund klimaVest benefits from this dynamic - and offers a future-proof and profitable investment opportunity in the AIF sector as well. 

Tobias Huzarski is a Senior Investment Manager in Infrastructure Investments at Commerz Real and reports on how renewable energies and attractive returns come together profitably at klimaVest: "This is precisely where klimaVest bridges the gap and enables our clients and partners to combine positive measurable impact with financial returns."

klimaVest is an ELTIF. It is particularly exciting because it makes investments in real assets from the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors accessible to private investors. Until now, such investments assets such as wind and solar parks from trusted project developers, klimaVest offers stable return opportunities that are well secured by sustained and continuous demand. 

In addition, broad asset diversification across countries, locations, and asset classes further secures the product, as klimaVest also invests in energy transmission, traffic, transportation, and mobility alongside energy generation. These investments are made exclusively in countries with political and economic stability. 

With cross-border locations, it can also be ensured that a certain balance can take place between local electricity prices or changes in legislation.

However, klimaVest is not only characterized by stability and typical good return opportunities of AIFs: One unique feature compared to many alternative funds is that the issuance and redemption of shares are allowed daily without notice periods.

How does an alternative investment fund work?

In principle, AIFs are funds whose assets are managed by a management company and invested in real assets. In the specific functioning of AIFs, a distinction can be made between closed-end and open-end funds. 

The investment amounts for closed-end AIFs usually vary between 5,000 euros and over 500,000 euros. The fund assets consist of equity from private investors. However, in many cases a relevant share of debt capital is added, for example in the form of a loan – with the aim of leveraging returns. Depending on the scope and conditions of the planned project, the management company sets a target sum, which is to be accumulated within a certain period of time.

The fund is then closed and no further units can be purchased. Closed-end funds are normally associated with a high level of unavailability, as the investment capital is firmly tied up over a specific period. These terms may be a few years to several decades, depending on the individual fund conditions. 

In the case of open-end alternative investment funds, you are not committed to such fixed terms. Although a certain minimum holding period is generally recommended, this is not mandatory.  

In addition, there is no upper limit on the amount of fund assets and the number of investment items. This allows you to invest more capital at any time, which the responsible management company can then use to acquire further tangible assets if necessary. 

The way an AIF works can basically be divided into three different phases:

  1. Placement phase: In this phase, the investment company is established by investors joining it under certain conditions (minimum investment amount, minimum term). This phase depends on certain framework conditions, such as the planned asset volume or the pace at which the units are issued. The placement of the fund may therefore take between six and 18 months.
  2. Management phase: This relates to the actual operation and maintenance of the investment property or items. Depending on the asset, rental income or profits are generated from lease agreements, for example. The duration of this phase also depends on the asset, but generally lasts between ten and 15 years. The procedure in this phase applies to both closed-end and open-end AIFs.
  3. Selling phase: After the specified term, AIFs resell the investment objects and the profit – less the applicable fees – is distributed to the investors. Once the investment project has been completed, the companies are usually dissolved.

The most important characteristics of alternative investment funds

Terms of AIFs

For investors, investing in alternative funds means long (five to ten years) to very long maturities (15 years and up). The fund assets are often invested in large-scale projects that require capital to be tied up for the long term. For example, in order to operate a wind turbine over a certain period of time and make corresponding profits, it must be ensured that investors do not withdraw their capital from the project at any arbitrary point in time.  

As a result, the units acquired cannot generally be redeemed or can only be redeemed on the secondary market. Cancellations are only possible in rare cases. Some investors may see it as a disadvantage to have their capital tied up in the long term, but many investments require longer maturities to make the money work for them and thus produce profitable consideration.

Availability of AIFs

Most alternative funds are limited and not freely accessible at all times

So if you are looking for a new and sustainable commercial property for your portfolio with tenants with a high credit rating and high returns near a German metropolis, you have to have a good deal of luck to come across such an offer.  

If the market has such offers, it is often a club deal: minimum holdings start here at around 200,000 euros in an exclusive group of investors of around 100 semi-professional investors, meaning that such investments have an investment volume of around 20 million euros. 

Open-end AIFs, on the other hand, offer investors greater availability and flexibility in both the amount invested and the commitment period. However, when combined with an acceptable risk profile, lower returns are generally to be expected.


In most AIFs, the investors involved are liable to creditors up to the amount of their own contribution – in addition, there is no longer any personal liability, as the German Investment Code (KAGB) legally excludes the obligation for shareholders to make a subsequent contribution.

Characteristics of alternative investment funds

Fund manager Management company approval by BaFin 
Financial products  
1. Clearly defined investment items
2. Max. 60% debt capital
3. Prohibition of additional contributions
4. Diversification of risk for retail investors 

Information for investors Publication of Key Investor Information Documents (KIID) and

Independent depositary  Investment assets must be managed by an independent bank

Review Regular review by BaFin

Overview of other alternative investments and capital investments

Not all alternative investments are the same: if you want to leave the field of traditional asset classes behind, AIFs might be a sensible starting point. But they are not the only alternative financial products – the financial world offers other alternative investment options in addition to AIFs:

  • Wine and whisky: The fact that some Bordeaux wines can show an annual increase in value of 6 to 7 % should not really come as a surprise, because few indulgences are as prestigious as expensive whiskies or wines. However, such investments require genuine expertise, optimal storage conditions – and the necessary restraint to avoid rushing to open a bottle.
  • Art: Art auctions are a very visual way of showing how much money is still spent in this trade. These include a wide range of objects, from classic paintings and statuettes to rare and valuable vinyl records.
  • Classic cars: These are not conventional commodities, but rather art on four wheels: classic and rare models from Porsche or Ferrari can grow in value over a period of a few decades more than equities, for example. However, for such transactions to be truly profitable, it takes not only luck and time, but also passion for the item and a corresponding initial investment.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum and so on – the advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrencies are now known to all those interested in things financial. Cryptocurrency trading continues to move huge amounts of capital, bringing great opportunities as well as the risk of another price crash.
  • Race horses, sneakers, watches, cheese, bonsai trees, comics, samurai swords...

the list of possible alternative investments is almost endless. What they all have in common is that investment items are generally purchased as cheaply as possible, well preserved or maintained and then resold with some profit. 

However, there must be a corresponding market for the sale of such assets – the more exotic the investment items, the more difficult they will be to sell. At the same time, such smaller markets are often subject to unforeseen developments. This entails additional risks for investors that must be taken into account.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of alternative investment funds?

If you’re considering investing in an AIF, you should first obtain detailed information on the background and conditions of the respective fund. Precisely because of their complexity, there are a number of things to consider here.

Let’s first look at the advantages of alternative funds:


Whilst equity funds are often less transparent in their selection of assets and not much can be gleaned from names such as “Technology Asia”, AIFs offer a significantly better overview. With specific tangible assets and selected investment projects, you maintain a clear overview of where your money is going and how the opportunities and risks of a particular project break down.

Investing in major projects

With an investment in AIFs, you can participate in investments with a volume in the millions. This means that retail investors can also have opportunities to invest in particularly interesting real estate or – thanks to ELTIFs infrastructure projects.

Increase in value

It is not only retail investors who are increasingly learning to appreciate AIFs. In the ongoing low-interest phase, providers of life or annuity insurance, for example, are also looking for new ways to be able to meet the promised guarantees.

All the players on the financial market now agree that to ensure profitability and beat inflation, investments in government bonds or savings alone are no longer sufficient.

High returns

AIFs enable investors to achieve above-average returns – for wealth building or for asset preservation. The advantage of this is that the portfolio does not have to be too dependent on the stock market and its associated risks.

Uncomplicated tangible asset investments

By focusing on tangible assets, alternative funds offer investors a lot of stability, for example through long-term purchase agreements or in the form of real estate leases that protect investors and their capital from inflation.

Here, investors can benefit from the success of tangible assets without taking on the expense and cluster risk of owning real estate. The financial outlay is even limited, as investments in good AIFs usually start at around 10,000 euros.

Active management

AIF investors also benefit from the active management of the fund, which is undertaken by experts and fund managers, and provides investors with enough security to either sit back or engage with more time-consuming investment opportunities.

Regular distributions

AIFs often provide for regular distributions that are paid to their investors. However, these distributions depend on the planned course of the investment and cannot be guaranteed.

Professional investments

AIFs for semi-professional or retail investors provide access to an asset class previously only intended for institutional or professional investors.

This opens up completely different investment opportunities than was previously the case with traditional investments. The klimaVest open-end impact fund, for example, was recently made available to retail investors in conjunction with specific regulations.


With AIFs, you can significantly improve the diversification in your portfolio. Infrastructure, for example, is still often under-represented and can expand your portfolio profitably.

Now let’s look at the disadvantages of alternative investment funds:


With AIFs, you can significantly improve the diversification in your portfolio. Infrastructure, for example, is still often under-represented and can expand your portfolio profitably.

Required expertise

If you are an expert in the trading of goods by ship, it should not be difficult for you to select a suitable AIF in the form of a shipping fund. However, anyone who does not have proven expertise in any specific area of tangible assets should carefully select a competent and credible fund provider.

Even if the capital is managed by an expert, your capital is still being injected into a highly competitive market. It is therefore advisable to protect yourself as best as possible by obtaining your own specialist knowledge or using a competent provider.

Redemption restrictions

Simple redemptions or uncomplicated sales of shares on the secondary market are usually not easily possible with AIFs. If investors therefore want to redeem their units early – due to an emergency or even a particularly favourable market situation – they must be prepared to accept certain losses.


Those who are well acquainted with the usual costs of traditional investments will encounter some differences with AIFs that they may not have been aware of. In this still quite new and diverse area of investment, there are other circumstances that are also reflected in the costs involved. Fund providers often charge higher management fees due to the product complexity and related administrative effort. The initial charges can also vary.  

In addition, factors such as the maintenance of the investment properties or a particular focus on sustainability must be taken into account when calculating the costs. Experienced investors would therefore do well to consider the different fees charged by alternative funds in advance.

Management company as a risk factor

The responsible management company of an AIF is not only responsible for the design of the financial product, but also for the fund management and the support, maintenance, management and marketing of the project. It therefore has extensive responsibility when it comes to the successful management of the product.  

For the product to succeed, it must therefore also be ensured that the management company can demonstrate a relevant reputation and a correspondingly positive skills profile. Gaps in the skills of the management company can have a correspondingly negative impact on investors’ investment or investment capital.

No guarantee of returns

As AIFs are not fixed-income investments, a promised or calculated return cannot be guaranteed under any circumstances. In the worst case, this can mean a total loss of your investment, for example if the responsible management company files for insolvency.  

For example, if a property does not generate the forecast amounts over a term of 15 years, it will also not bring in the calculated sales price. The advantage of equity investments of being able to simply ride out falling prices in an emergency is definitely not the case here. 

In principle, it is difficult to provide a general summary of the advantages and disadvantages and thus also the opportunities and risks of AIFs. With such a wide field, the general conditions vary greatly depending on the product and the tangible asset – for example, it is difficult to compare a hedge fund with a film fund. 

However, alternative funds are generally corporate investments whose risk class is rated at least 5 (above-average risk) on a scale of 1 to 7. 

But let’s not forget: the German Investment Code (KAGB) regulations introduced in 2013, as well as the control by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), have already provided significantly higher transparency in the area of AIFs. This has also reduced risks for investors – provided they have the required knowledge about the planned investment in advance. Although the new law could not actually eliminate any risks, investors are now being made much more explicitly aware of them.

The legal basis of AIFs: what protection is there for investors?

Since the introduction of the German Investment Code (KAGB) in 2013, the new term “alternative investment fund” has included all former closed-end funds as well as open-end (mutual) investment funds that do not meet the criteria for undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS). 

At the same time, precise criteria were formulated for the first time to define the risk and liquidity management, reporting and valuation obligations and the control of the cash flow of AIFs. As a result, the law brought with it an important innovation and subsumed various financial products under one term, for which no precise regulation had previously been available. 

All forms of AIFs require a special permit from Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) within the framework of the KAGB and are subject to a special reporting obligation. 

AIFs may only be established in two different legal forms: either in a closed investment limited partnership (gInvKG) or a closed investment limited company (gInvAG).  

As already mentioned, the respective investment company is responsible for the procurement of capital, management, control and supervision of the product by BaFin.  

The law requires AIFs to ensure the publication of their investment terms and conditions. These conditions must have been approved in advance by BaFin. This includes, among other things, the principles of the investment, a list of the investment objects, the costs incurred and the type of distribution. They must also disclose the prospectus, Articles of Association, Annual Report and the KIID. This means that investors are legally protected in order to obtain detailed information about the investment with access to all important information. 

It is also important to legally distinguish between special and retail AIFs: The first paragraph of the KAGB prohibits the purchase of investment certificates belonging to special AIFs for retail investors. Thus, all AIFs that retail investors can use for an investment are considered to be retail AIFs. 

In addition, there are specific legal provisions for open-end retail AIFs. According to section 214 of the KAGB, alternative retail funds are obliged to design their product according to the principle of risk mix. According to this principle, the respective fund must invest in a total of three tangible assets and the borrowed capital must be less than 60% of the market value of the investment objects. Open-end retail AIFs thus offer their investors a relatively high degree of diversification.

The AIFM Directive

The AIFM Directive (Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive) came into force in 2013 with the introduction of the KAGB and regulates AIF managers’ area of activity in order to better protect investors and increase control over the grey and previously unregulated financial market. 

Following the financial crisis of 2008, the question of regulations for alternative funds became more important, as their managers could trade freely and without any legal restrictions in the market until then – with huge risks and losses for investors. Since the introduction of the Directive, fund managers can be held liable for the first time in certain cases.

The AIFM Directive is therefore parallel to the UCITS Directive and provides increased investment protection entrenched at EU level. This greatly standardised the legal situation of such products and the position of their managers.

Whether you want to invest in wine or aeroplanes or you want to rely on an open real estate fund, AIFs provide you with an almost unlimited choice of investments. 

Alternative investments offer a wide and diverse field, especially for more experienced investors. However, more cautious investors can also tap into certain forms of alternative investments, secured by additional legal protection. 

Expand your portfolio with AIFs with a wide range of interesting investment opportunities – we wish you lots of success.

What does AIF mean?

AIF stands for alternative investment fund and refers to financial products that do not meet the UCITS criteria for traditional investments. AIFs invest primarily in physical assets, from ships and real estate to wind farms.

Are AIFs securities?

No, AIFs do not invest in securities and are independent of stock exchanges. AIFs primarily invest in tangible assets such as aircraft, containers and wind farms. Their returns usually result from the operation, leasing or sale of these tangible assets. Bonds can, however, be added in individual cases.

What is a special AIF?

Special AIFs are alternative funds the units of which may only be acquired by (semi-)professional or institutional investors. They are only intended for a small, exclusive group of investors. The associated rules are therefore often more relaxed than for retail AIFs.

What are retail AIFs?

Retail AIFs are more tightly regulated alternative funds that are accessible to retail investors and make it possible to invest in tangible assets. According to the German Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch: KAGB), such funds must ensure a high level of transparency of the product and its framework conditions in order to protect investors.

When is a fund an AIF?

A fund is considered to be an AIF if it does not fall within the UCITS criteria. Since the introduction of the German Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch: KAGB) in 2013, this has included all closed-end funds as well as some open-end funds. Until this introduction, AIFs were regulated less strictly than traditional funds.

Are real estate funds AIFs?

Closed-end real estate funds are one of the funds classed as AIFs. Investments are made in one or a few properties; investors can only acquire units to a limited extent. Deposits are tied up over the long term. Open-end real estate funds are also classed as AIFs. However, compared to many other AIFs, they are low-risk and very easily accessible.

Which law governs alternative investments?

In 2013, the German Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch: KAGB) was introduced in Germany, which replaced the investment law applicable until then. It sets out the requirements, conditions and exclusions applicable to the different types of alternative funds.

What are alternative asset classes?

Strictly speaking, alternative investments are not a separate asset class. These include, for example, real estate, commodities or private equity, i.e. predominantly physical assets. As a result, they have very low to no correlation with stock market prices.

What are traditional investments?

Traditional investments are typically traditional securities such as equities or (government) bonds. Real estate is also often regarded as a traditional investment, especially in Germany, but as a fund only in the form of an open-end real estate fund.

Why invest in alternative investments?

More experienced investors can achieve higher profits or balance risks in the portfolio with the same risk and return profile. AIFs are more complex than conventional investments, which is why they are less suitable for new entrants and should only be used for diversification in the case of larger assets.