Savills IM promotes research head to global CIO

Andrew Allen was appointed global chief investment officer at the London-based manager following Kiran Patel’s retirement last month.

Andrew Allen, formerly global head of research, product strategy and development at Savills Investment Management, has been promoted to the role of global chief investment officer at the London-based manager, PERE has learned.

Last August, the firm announced Kiran Patel would retire from the role of deputy chief executive and global chief investment officer. Patel’s responsibilities would be split between two separate roles: the new position of managing director – equity investments UK and Europe, and a replacement global chief investment officer. The former position was filled by Kevin Aitchison, who joined from fellow London-based manager Knight Frank Investment Management, at the end of 2023. Allen assumed the latter position at the start of April but his hire has not been publicly announced.

Andrew Allen: promoted to global chief investment officer at Savills IM

Allen has held a number of real estate research and strategy roles over approximately 30 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Having previously served as head of research and strategy for Cordea Savills, now Savills IM, he rejoined the business in 2021 as head of product strategy and development, before global head of research was added to his title the following year. Prior to rejoining the firm he spent more than nine years as global head of real estate investment research at UK investment manager Aberdeen Standard Investments, now Abrdn.

Allen reports into Alex Jeffrey, who serves as Savills IM’s chief executive officer in addition to overseeing the firm’s activities in Asia-Pacific from his base in Singapore.

Speaking to PERE at Savills IM’s London headquarters last week, Jeffrey explained the firm “was always open to the prospect of an internal appointment” in the search for the new global CIO. “Andy Allen was the right person for the job,” he said, adding Allen’s appointment was announced internally at the end of last year. “His background in research, strategy and product development was perfect for the role.”

Alongside his global CIO responsibilities, Allen remains head of research, Jeffrey said. Meanwhile, Patel continues to work for Savills IM in an advisory capacity for one to two days each week.

According to Jeffrey, Savills IM deployed upwards of £2 billion ($2.6 billion; €2.4 billion) in real estate debt and equity last year across Europe and Asia-Pacific, where it has approximately £20 billion and $1.5 billion in AUM, respectively. The firm also manages $7 billion of capital on behalf of APAC-based investors in global real estate.

Investments have been focused on sectors that are less reliant on the health of the economy, such as residential, urban logistics and grocery-anchored retail. In the past few years, the manager has also been downsizing its office portfolio by offloading secondary office assets, an area where Jeffrey thinks “prices still have significantly further to fall” in Europe.

Recent such sales include 125 Shaftesbury Avenue, a 1982 office building that was formerly leased to WeWork and which Savills IM acquired in a joint venture with Korean manager Vestas Investment Management for £267 million in 2018. The asset was sold in December 2023 with vacant possession to developers Edge and Mitsubishi Estate London, at a price reported to be in the region of £150 million.