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Standard Life, Aberdeen appoint co-global RE heads

The two organizations have proposed an investment management committee which sees Standard Life’s David Paine share responsibility for the combined firm’s real estate activities with Aberdeen’s Pertti Vanhanen.

UK Insurer Standard Life and asset manager Aberdeen Asset Management have proposed a senior management committee including joint global heads of real estate to be appointed once the £11 billion ($12.5 billion; €14 billion) merger completes.

Real estate is the only asset class for which joint heads have been put forward. The other asset classes managed by the amalgamated firm each have a sole head: structured solutions, equities, fixed income, multi-manager strategies and private and infrastructure equity, as well as functions including quantitative investing, investment execution, multi-asset and macro and investment governance and oversight.

Under the proposal, which is subject to the approval of the Financial Conduct Authority regulator and other considerations relating to the merger completing, the two global RE heads will be Standard Life’s head of real estate investments, David Paine, and Aberdeen’s global head of property, Pertti Vanhanen (pictured).

Paine, joined Standard Life in 1982 and been with Standard Life Investments, the division responsible for the insurer’s property investments, since its inception. Vanhanen joined Aberdeen in 2000, promoted to head of fund management in 2011 and global head three years later.

The combination of the two businesses would create one of the largest asset managers in the private real estate marketplace, with combined assets under management of approximately £46 billion. Aberdeen is marginally the larger operation with £21 billion in direct property holdings and £2.5 billion of property managed via multi-manager strategies. Standard Life manages about £22.5 billion of assets, although real estate debt and equities investments are included in its total. The overwhelming majority of their assets are in Europe, although Aberdeen manages a little less than $500 million of direct assets in North America and $1 billion in Asia held in multi-manager funds.

The merger was approved by UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority on June 22 and is expected to pass any remaining regulatory approvals ahead of the completion on August 14.