09 Jul 2020

I am delighted to announce we have appointed Adrian Benedict, Head of Real Estate Solutions at Fidelity International, as the new Chair of AREF.

This is a pivotal time for real estate funds, with AREF’s board focussing on guiding the industry through the challenges of coronavirus and Brexit, while continuing to promote investment in real estate funds.  Adrian’s expertise and knowledge of the sector will help the organisation and its members navigate this critical period.

I’d also like to offer my thanks to Deborah Lloyd, our former Chair, for her service to AREF.  During her tenure she played a crucial role in rejuvenating the Board and negotiating and developing our partnership with the IA.  I am glad that we will retain the benefit of her counsel as a Board member.

I am also pleased to announce that Adrian will be joined by new board member, Anne Breen, Head of Investment Strategy at Aberdeen Standard.

To read the full press release click here. 

View an interview with Adrian on his plans as the new Chair:


Adrian Benedict

Adrian Benedict

Investment Director, European Real Estate, Fidelity

Adrian is the current Chair of the Association of Real Estate Funds, and previously Chaired the AREF Corporate Governance Committee.

Adrian currently holds the position of Head of Real Estate Solutions at Fidelity International. He is responsible for delivering new client solutions, innovation and overall business development activities. Adrian has been advising and working within the real estate industry for more than two decades.

Having originally trained as a Civil Engineer he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PWC before joining UBS Investment Bank. During this latter role he specialised in providing M&A, IPO and debt advice for listed property companies across the globe. For the latter half of his career, Adrian has worked in real estate asset management roles covering capital raising, fund structuring and debt financing. He is a passionate advocate for real assets and the important role it can play as part of a long term savings solution but also how the industry can improve to deliver its benefits to a wider client audience

Anne Breen

Anne Breen

Head of Investment Strategy (Real Estate), Aberdeen Standard Investment

Anne’s role is to lead the investment approach, process and strategy for the real estate business at Aberdeen Standard. This includes the creation of a Global Houseview to support real estate investment allocations relevant to all investor outcomes, as well as the development of the risk based tools and strategic insights to deliver a strong long term risk adjusted track record for clients. Anne chairs the global committees across the Real Estate business assessing fund strategic plans for investment, distributions and asset management.

Deborah Lloyd

Deborah Lloyd

Independent Consultant

Deborah Lloyd is the former Chairman of the Association of Real Estate Funds until 2020, and until 2015 was the Vice Chairman of the Management Board of INREV. She is also a non-executive board member of Kames Target Healthcare Fund, a consultant to the student accommodation fund manager, Curlew Capital and a member of the University of London’s property committee.

Until 2016 Deborah, for 23 years, was a Partner at law firm Nabarro LLP, now part of CMS, where she co-founded the Funds and Indirect Real Estate team, which is ranked tier 1 in Legal 500. At Nabarro she set up and advised on funds for institutional and private equity fund managers including Aviva Investors, Standard Life, Henderson, Knight Frank, Cromwell, Kames Capital, iQ, Catalyst Capital, Rockspring, Aberdeen (SWIP), IMPAX, Curlew Capital, Eskmuir Asset Management. Deborah has a legal background in direct real estate, so understands real estate as an asset class from a development and leasing perspective.



Paul Richards

Paul Richards

Managing Director, AREF

Paul is the Managing Director of AREF.

Before joining AREF, Paul was Head of the European Real Estate Boutique within Mercer’s investment consulting business for almost 10 years, previously he was Head of Indirect Real Estate Investment and Global Managed Accounts at LaSalle Investment Management, where he was responsible for managing global portfolios of unlisted real estate funds for clients from Europe and Asia Pacific.

He has over 25 years of real estate experience in investment, corporate finance and research, and has advised investors, occupiers and venture capital companies on property portfolio strategy and on financial structuring, including PFI, senior and mezzanine debt and joint venture arrangements. His employers have included LaSalle Investment Management, Cushman & Wakefield and Henderson Investors.

Before coming into the world of real estate, Paul worked in marketing and market research. He originally studied Physiological Sciences at Lincoln College, Oxford and has a Master of Science in Real Estate from City University Business School, London, now Cass Business School.