Aberdeen Standard Investments' (ASI) announcement that global co-heads of real estate David Paine and Pertti Vanhanen are to step down from the business amid the launch of a collective private markets franchise has surprised people within the firm.
According to sources, those within the real estate group had not expected the decision that Paine and Vanhanen would leave within months as Peter McKellar becomes global head of private markets, with Neil Slater as deputy head. Slater has also been appointed global head of real estate.
ASI said on Tuesday that private markets has become mainstream, with AUM hitting an all-time high of $5.8 trn driven by structural tailwinds as investors see it as necessary for accessing diversified exposure to global growth. 'Given ASI’s breadth in Private Markets capabilities, this growth and increased investor sophistication represents a significant opportunity as ASI seeks to become a full service provider able to deliver flexible solutions for clients,' it said.
ASI currently manages over £60 bn (€68 bn) in private markets on behalf of clients, and is the largest real estate manager in the UK, as well as being a top-three player in Europe.
'Aberdeen Standard Investments has a strong heritage in a wide range of private market capabilities having managed money for clients in these areas over more than 30 years,' McKellar explained.
'Structural change and evolving market environments with investors increasingly allocating to non-public market assets makes it even more important to have a fully integrated approach to private markets to enable us to deliver the right solutions to clients,' he added.
'At a time when international investors are shifting risks from public to private markets and searching for alternative sources of both yield and diversification, I am looking forward to taking on my new role to help accelerate the growth of our real estate and private markets businesses worldwide, while continuing to bring a diverse mix of solutions to address our global clients’ need for returns and diversification,' Slater concluded.
The corporate announcement comes just weeks after PropertyEU sat down with Vanhanen to discuss the progress made at the company since Aberdeen Asset Management merged with Standard Life just over two years ago.
Subscribers can read the interview in the September issue of the magazine.