BNP Paribas to expand via senior UK hire

Gerardine Davies, formerly of Aegon Asset Management, joins BNP Real Estate as UK head of investment management as the €12 billion platform looks to expand its international reach.

 BNP Paribas Real Estatehas appointed Gerardine Davies as head of the UK business as it looks to further expand on its €12 billion of investment assets under management.

The French firm, which has some 68,000 private investors on its books and manages 50 pooled real estate funds, said the hire of the former Aegon Asset Management professional was part of a strategy to boost its transactional business and build on the “international reach” of the investment management team. Its current portfolio of  pooled funds are based mainly in Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the UK.

According to BNP, Davies developed the property fund management platform at Aegon Asset Management (since renamed Kames Capital). She left Ageon in 2010 having joined in 2007 from Morley Fund Management, the forerunner to Aviva Investors. While at Morley she led the Norwich Property Trust and increased retail investment from £380 million (€453 million; $600 million) to £5 billion during the six years she worked there.

BNP said her appointment followed recent successes including a  $300 million mandate from Saudi Arabian investment holding company Manafea to buy prime office properties, and the first purchase on its behalf in London arrived in December when it bought the 3 Bunhill Row office development for £80 million.

Mark England, chief executive of BNP’s overall UK business, said in a statement: “Investment management is essential to our business and is a key part of our plan to boost our transactional business. Gerardine is our first senior recruit of 2012 and we are currently working on a number of others, in line with our strategy to grow profitable areas of the business.”

Davies said of her appointment: “BNP Paribas Real Estate is internationally renowned for its fund management capabilities and we are keen to expand and enhance the UK investment management business alongside this through new mandates, products and recruitment.”