Open-end real estate funds are of particular importance in the German bank- dominated financial system. However, recently the German open-end fund industry came under severe distress which triggered a broad discussion of required regulatory interventions. This paper gives a detailed description of the institutional structure of these funds and of the events that led to the crisis. Furthermore, it applies recent banking theory to openend real estate funds in order to understand why the open-end fund structure was so prevalent in Germany. Based on these theoretical insights we evaluate the various policy recommendations that have been raised.