BlackRock is to create a real assets group as part of a wider reorganisation, with the move taking effect next month.

The new real assets group, which will be headed by Jim Barry, will combine infrastructure and real estate to reflect the fact clients see these areas “as a distinct and more integrated asset class”.

Barry will retain his role as global head of BlackRock’s infrastructure group, while Marcus Sperber will continue to be global head of real estate.

Last year, AXA Real Estate changed its name to AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets as the company entered the infrastructure sector.

In a staff briefing note, BlackRock chairman and chief executive Larry Fink and president Rob Kapito said “clients seeking alternatives solutions are viewing real assets, which include infrastructure and real estate, as a distinct and more integrated asset class”.

“We believe there is an opportunity for us to be at the forefront of both thinking and investing in this space,” Fink and Kapito’s note said.

BlackRock’s full-year results are due to be announced on Friday.

The third quarter of 2015 saw inflows of $50bn (€45.8bn) and long-term institutional active inflows of $5.9bn, of which $4.1bn was in fixed income.

Passive long-term strategies saw net outflows of $700m, including equity net outflows of $1.8bn.