The Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF) has appointed two new directors to join its board with immediate effect.
Paul Richards, head of the European real estate boutique at Mercer, and Nick Thompson, who retired from Prudential as head of fund and investment management in 2004 and is now a non-executive director with a number of companies, will be the first directors to join AREF’s board from outside the association’s membership.
Richards was previously head of indirect real estate investment and global managed accounts at LaSalle Investment Management, where he was responsible for managing global portfolios of unlisted real estate funds for clients from Europe and Asia Pacific. He has over 25 years of real estate experience in investment, corporate finance and research, and has advised investors, occupiers and venture capital companies on property portfolio strategy and on financial structuring, including PFI, senior and mezzanine debt and joint venture arrangements.
Following his retirement, Thompson (pictured) has held a variety of property investment related roles which currently include chairman of Picton Property Income Ltd (formerly the ING Real Estate Income Trust Ltd), director of the Lend Lease Retail Partnership and chairman of IPD’s UK & Ireland Consultative Group.
David Wise, AREF chairman, says: “Having senior expertise from outside of our membership will add greater independence to our board and strengthen good governance.
“We have actively sought to enhance our engagement with investors so we’re delighted to have Paul join us who will bring valuable insight and perspective as an investor. Equally, Nick’s extensive and wide-ranging experience will add fresh thinking and help to challenge the industry.”
Richards says: “It is quite a privilege for someone from outside AREF’s membership to be invited to join the board and I’m grateful for the opportunity. The last few years have seen some important changes in the way that real estate is viewed by institutional investors and in their expectations of their fund managers. I hope that I can add some insight from the ‘client side’ to help the development of the industry, to the benefit both of investors and the real estate fund community.”