BlackRock transfers open-ended funds to Aviva

BlackRock’s European and UK Property Funds of Funds will now be managed by Aviva, after the firm poached BlackRock’s former head of real estate funds of funds, John Gellatly. The decision was to ensure ‘continuity’ for unitholders, the firms said.

BlackRock has transferred the management of two open-ended real estate funds of funds to Aviva Investors following the departure of the vehicle’s manager John Gellatly to Aviva in September.

In a joint statement, BlackRock and Aviva said the funds, BlackRock European Property Fund of Funds and BlackRock UK Property Fund of Funds, would now be handled by Aviva’s real estate multi-manager team. The funds will be renamed Aviva Investors European Real Estate Fund of Funds and Aviva Investors UK Real Estate Fund of Funds.

Gellatly was previously head of global real estate fund of funds at BlackRock in London. At Aviva, Gellatly leads the firm’s European multi manager business.

Nick Mansley, Aviva Investors global head of real estate multi manager, said in a statement: “The hiring of John Gellatly … prompted the decision to bring them onboard.” He added that the transfer would allow “management continuity” as well as help Aviva’s expansion plans to “offer clients pooled solutions alongside the existing segregated account service”.

The European fund, valued at £62.6 million (€69.5 million; $103.3 million) according to a Reuters report, has previously invested in funds such as Rutley European Property fund, Rockspring Portuguese Property Partnership, Tishman Speyer’s European Real Estate Venture and JER’s European Fund III, a 2008 BlackRock investor presentation added.

The UK Property Fund of Fund, valued at £54.8 million, reopened to subscriptions in April this year after “successfully [meeting] all investor redemptions”, an investor presentation dated 7 April 2009 stated. “The remaining cash balance is being retained in the Fund to selectively support refinancing of debt in existing funds and to buy into other funds near the bottom of the cycle,” it added. Existing investments at the time included BlackRock UK Property Fund, Unite’s UK Student Accommodation Fund, West End of London Property Unit Trust and RREEF’s UK Office Property Fund.