BlackRock launches new real estate team

Investment management giant BlackRock last month hired Aviva Investors’ Sherry Rexroad as Chief Investment Officer for its new BlackRock Global Real Estate Securities platform. Rexroad previously served as Aviva’s senior portfolio manager of real estate investment trusts for the Americas (note: correction appended).

The Manhattan-based group will invest in real estate investment trusts and real estate operators across the globe, Rexroad told TRD, adding that it will be “a marriage of a fundamental equity team and a real estate team.”

This will be the first time BlackRock offers publicly traded real estate securities. Both retail and institutional funds would invest in the new securities, the company said.

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Rexroad, who will build the platform from the ground up as chief investment officer, said she is currently looking to hire portfolio managers for each of the group’s main regions of focus — the U.S., Europe and Asia. Over the next 18 to 24 months, Rexroad said the new group will hire 16 to 18 people.

“We need to find the right people and grow our business intelligently,” said Rexroad, who has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “We need people who really understand these assets, because a real estate company is just a gathering together of what we think are quality assets, and providing good access to capital.”

Before moving to Aviva, Rexroad worked with both ING Clarion Real Estate and AEW Capital Management.