GLOBAL - BlackRock has launched a global listed real estate platform, hiring Mark Howard-Johnson to lead the new business.

The asset manager, with $3.68trn (€2.9trn) in assets under management across asset classes, plans to combine its existing real estate investment expertise with its experience in the equity markets.

Howard-Johnson, who has been appointed global head of real estate securities management, will build a global team of listed property professionals and is expected to hire six professionals before the end of the year.

BlackRock said the new global real estate securities team will work closely with its real estate research and investment professionals to identify and pursue investible trends in the real estate industry.

"The team will also look to leverage the broad investment market insights and trading expertise of the fundamental equity teams at BlackRock," it stated.

Howard-Johnson launched the real estate securities management business at Building & Land Technology, where he was most recently chief investment officer.

Prior to that he was global head and chief investment officer of REIT management at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where he helped launch real estate securities products that pursued income, international and long/short strategies.

Jack Chandler, global head of real estate at BlackRock, said: "BlackRock is already the largest manager in the REIT sector across a broad range of products - expanding this expertise for dedicated actively managed products is a natural extension of the firm's robust real estate capabilities.

"This will further strengthen our ability to offer our institutional and retail clients an unrivaled set of real estate solutions. We are thrilled to have such an exceptional and experienced talent as Mark to drive the build-out of this addition to our platform."

Howard-Johnson said: "BlackRock real estate investments span a wide range of strategies which now, with the addition of the active strategy, will be even more integrated and complementary of each other.

"I'm proud to be part of this superior team and look forward to strengthening the firm's product offering for the benefit of our clients."