31 Jan 2024

If it’s not too late, a Happy New Year to everyone.  Best wishes for a prosperous 2024. 

I covered AREF’s current policy priorities for this year in our Vision 2024 event but I thought it would be useful to outline them here too. 



The General Election

In an election year, one of the most valuable roles that AREF can play is to influence the policies of both major parties.  Doubtless our major members will be seeking to do this too. 

We will therefore be working with members and other trade associations to coordinate increased engagement activity.

Retail funds and liquidity

Retail real estate funds have come back onto the FCA’s agenda for 2024, and our Retail Funds Committee is already in dialogue with them.  We will continue this engagement throughout the year. 

DC investment

Operational obstacles continue to limit the ability of the growing DC pension fund sector to invest in unlisted assets, including real estate.  This lack of investment into “productive assets” is a concern for both parties, and I believe that the disappointing uptake of the Long Term Asset Fund has re-focussed the attention of government and regulators on the fact that the obstacles are not regulatory, but operational, and they need ot be addressed as such.  to Continuing platforms, PFWG

Overseas investment

Up until now AREF has been focussing on DC investment as an important source of capital for our sector.  The other major source is overseas capital.  We will be developing relationships with appropriate parts of Government in order to address some of the regulatory and other barriers to investment from overseas into UK property. 


Paul Richards

Paul Richards


Paul is the Managing Director of AREF.  Before joining AREF in 2020, 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.