UK - The Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF) has appointed Bill Hughes, managing director of Legal & General Property, as its new chairman.

Hughes will replace Nick Cooper, global chief executive officer (CEO) of ING Real Estate, and will be responsible for helping drive the organisation forward for what officials describe as its push to deliver the best pricing and liquidity management advice to real estate funds.

"The unprecedented market conditions in which we are currently operating represent both a number of opportunities and threats, so it is more important than ever that industry participants work together in a coordinated fashion to promote transparency and best practice across the sector," said Hughes.

The AREF built relationships with the Bank of England, the UK's regulator the Financial Services Authority and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2008, in its bid to enhance members' say in policymaking arenas.

The association, which currently has 68 member funds worth £32.4bn (€36.3bn) in net asset value, also strengthened its administration unit through a partnership with the Investment Management Association.

Rachel Mclsaac, chief executive of AREF, said: "At a time of uncertainty, it is crucial to reassure investors and for the AREF to play its part by raising awareness of the high quality of our member funds in terms of disclosure, governance and reporting."

Hughes, who was appointed new chairman when Cooper's term came to an end, will assume his role as chairman with immediate effect for the next two years.

The AREF acts as the voice for the UK unlisted real estate funds industry on tax and regulatory matters and aims to generate conformity and ease comparison between member funds.