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Principal Bulks Up Real Estate Investment Firm

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Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Principal Financial Group Inc., the seller of life insurance and retirement products, hired two managers for its real estate private-equity firm as the company increasingly bets on property.

David Gottschall, 40, formerly of Allstate Corp., was named managing director of Principal Enterprise Capital, Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial said today in a statement. Emily Slovitt, 29, who worked at Prudential Financial Inc., joins as investment manager.

Principal is boosting investments in real estate and commercial mortgages as home values rise and interest rates remain near historic lows. Equity real estate investments rose to about $1.28 billion as of Sept. 30 from $1.21 billion a year earlier, according to a third-quarter financial supplement on Principal’s website.

“Their collective experience in commercial real estate will help advance our mission to grow the business by generating high-quality, stable cash flows,” Dan Schulte, president and managing partner of the Principal unit, said in the statement.

Gottschall was most recently a portfolio manager for Allstate Investments, according to Principal. He has a master’s degree in finance from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s in economics from Oberlin College in Ohio.

Slovitt has a master’s in finance, management strategy and social enterprise from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s in finance and real estate from the University of Texas at Austin, Principal said.

Principal fell 22 cents to $49 at 2 p.m. in New York. It has advanced 72 percent this year, beating the 41 percent gain of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Insurance Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexandria Baca in New York at abaca3@bloomberg.net

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