09 Jul 2020

The Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF) has today appointed Adrian Benedict, Head of Real Estate Solutions at Fidelity International, as the new Chair of its board.

Adrian will be joining the 11-strong board, which represents sixty-seven funds spanning the leading real estate fund management houses in the industry, through to specialist boutiques, with a collective net asset value of over £72 billion. 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 Benedict, Head of Real Estate Solutions at Fidelity International, said:

“I am very pleased to be joining as Chair and working closely with the Board and executive team to help guide AREF through this next phase. My time on the Management Committee has shown me how well placed AREF is to represent the interests of its members. I look forward to furthering our partnership with the IA as we seek to promote the benefits of real estate funds to our investors as well as the wider society.”

Commenting on the new appointment, Paul Richards, Managing Director of AREF, said:

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Adrian as the new Chair of AREF. The real estate funds industry has an important role to play in helping investors meet their financial goals, supporting UK plc and managing the built environment in which we all live and work. 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” 

Adrian will also be joined by new board member, Anne Breen, Head of Investment Strategy at Aberdeen Standard.

Anne Breen, Head of Investment Strategy (Real Estate) at Aberdeen Standard, said:

“I am delighted to be invited to join the Board and I look forward to contributing to AREF’s agenda in what is a particularly challenging time for investors and managers.”


Notes to Editors:

Adrian Benedict currently holds the position of Head of Real Estate Solutions at Fidelity International, where 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.


Anne Breen currently holds the position of Head of Investment Strategy (Real Estate) at Aberdeen Standard. Anne’s role is to lead the investment approach, process and strategy for the real estate business. Anne chairs the global committees across the Real Estate business assessing fund strategic plans for investment, distributions and asset management.


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.