UK - Nick Cooper, principal of The Townsend Group, is to chair a new investor committee set up by the Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF).

Formerly known as the 'investor forum', the committee will act as an independent voice for investors in real estate funds and their advisers, including pension funds and their advisers, multi-managers and life companies.

Cooper was chosen for the role of chairman because of his experience in advising pension funds on both direct and indirect real estate investments for more than 27 years.

Cooper, who founded ING Real Estate's multi-manager business, joined The Townsend Group in May to help spearhead its push into the European institutional investment market.

He was chief executive of ING Real Estate Select, where he managed both European and global property funds of funds, for more than 10 years.

Cooper was also chairman of AREF while he was at ING Real Estate Select from 2007 to 2009.

Bill Hughes, chairman at AREF, said: "With his extensive experience in the property industry and high reputational standing with institutional investors, he is the ideal candidate to represent the views and concerns of investors to AREF's membership."

AREF acts as a spokesperson for the UK non-listed real estate funds industry and currently has 69 member funds representing approximately £31bn (€37.3bn) in net asset value.