UK - Ignis Asset Management has launched a standalone real estate business following inflows of more than £800m (€923m) into its existing property funds in 2010.

Ignis Real Estate will manage approximately £2.6bn of real estate assets, including funds and segregated mandates, and will be led by Gary Hutcheson, who has been appointed managing director.

Hutcheson, who will report to chief executive Chris Samuel, has made a number of external appointments to build up the new venture, including Alan Gardner, who joins Ignis Real Estate as head of research from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

Gardner was head of forecasting services at JLL and has more than 12 years' experience, having worked at a range of firms, including Gerald Eve and Investment Property Databank (IPD).

He will be responsible for undertaking specific market and subsector analysis and help deliver a broad market strategy in support of the wider real estate investment team at Ignis.

Daniel Baynes and Chris Brydie are also joining Ignis as asset managers, where they will be responsible for the day-to-day management of a portfolio of assets within the UK Commercial Property Trust and Ignis UK Property Fund, respectively.

Other senior appointments within Ignis's new real estate business include Steven Beveridge, who has been appointed to the new role of chief operating officer, and Robert Boag, who has been promoted as senior investment director.

The enlarged and widened Ignis Real Estate team will total more than 30 people and is expected to expand further in the future.

Hutcheson said: "Since late 2005, assets under management at Ignis Real Estate have increased approximately fivefold.

"The formation of the business unit within Ignis Asset Management marks another milestone in the transformation of real estate as an asset class within the wider Ignis business.

"Most importantly, the new business unit provides the real estate team with a degree of ownership of and responsibility for the growth of the real estate business."