BlackRock recruits CIO for new Euro securities strategy

One of Thames River Capital’s star fund managers is leaving to set up a European real estate securities business for giant US money manager BlackRock.

BlackRock has recruited James Wilkinson as European chief investment officer for the firm’s recently established global real estate securities business. He will start in January.

The division is headed in the US by Mark Howard-Johnson and Sherry Rexroad, who joined in June to set it up. A head for Asia will be appointed next.

“BlackRock has a large direct real estate programme and a very large equity team, so it made sense for the company  to have a public real estate business,” said Rexroad.

BlackRock launched the US-domiciled BlackRock US Real Estate Securities Strategy Fund  this month and plans to set up a global Luxembourg SICAF fund by the end of the year. Wilkinson will invest in European stocks.

The long-only fund will invest mainly in developed rather than emerging real estate market companies. Its target return is 9-10%, benchmarked against the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT US Index.