SLI appointment signals move into real estate investment trusts

Standard Life Investments has announced the appointment of Gordon Humphries as head of investment companies. Humphries, former deputy head of investment trusts at F&C, is expected to join the firm this summer.

The move heralds a foray into real estate investment trusts next year, says George Walker, head of UK institutional business.

The exact nature of the products has yet to be decided, but the firm intends to launch a combination of Reits and fund of funds-style portfolios.

“One of the beauties of the fund of funds structure is that it offers levels of liquidity that are difficult to get with direct property exposure,” says Walker. “There are some issues to be cleared up, but as one of the largest property managers, we feel we have something to offer.”

The appointment is also designed to continue the firm’s record of winning contracts for existing trusts, after it took over the management of Deutsche Equity Income in November last year, and Edinburgh Small Companies in September 2003. “We are effectively saying we are open for business when boards are looking to change their managers,” says Walker.

In a separate development, Standard Life has closed its European Property Growth fund. According to the firm, the fund has raised an additional E250m (170m) since its restructuring to a limited partnership in June 2005.