People living in Birmingham are to get a chance to invest their pensions at the heart of the city's regeneration.

A new property investment fund is being launched today by PropertyBourse.

The student accommodation investment fund aims to develop a portfolio of 45 properties in the Ladywood and Edgbaston areas at a total cost of £11.8 million.

The properties will be refurbished and let to students "seeking good quality accommodation in anon-campus environment".

The fund is projected to achieve a total return of around 15 per cent per annum over its six-year life.

PropertyBourse pointed out that the granting of Royal Assent for the Finance Act earlier this year enabled individuals with Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) to invest in residential property through collective investment schemes. This allows investors to take more control of how their pension money is invested.

Robin Christie, managing director of PropertyBourse, said the Birmingham scheme was the latest in a programme of residential investment opportunities, all of which were SIPP compliant. Each scheme is run by a specialist manager.

"As a result, investors receive higher rewards than those offered by traditional balanced funds and at much less risk compared with direct investment," he claimed.

The Birmingham fund is being launched in association with REAL (Real Estates Associates Limited) and will be managed by Campbellproperties.

The Birmingham area has 70,000 students at three universities, five colleges and two training hospitals and an estimated 30,000 seek accommodation in the private sector.

Investors will be able to buy shares in the student fund for a minimum of £12,500.

PropertyBourse has a diverse residential growth portfolio, which, in addition to Birmingham, includes a holiday village scheme in the Cotswolds; an eco-conscious development in Oxfordshire; city living in Poland and an

urban share scheme in the Docklands area of London.

Mr Christie said: "Central Birmingham is enjoying a renaissance, which should result in more y oung professionals embracing city centre living and the student property investment fund provides an opportunity to share in the successful regeneration of the city's heart."