REAL ESTATE - Pension fund demand for pan-European assets has driven ING Real Estate to boost its research team with a new UK head of research and forecasting. Charles Follows, currently research director at the Investment Property Forum, will join ING in January 2007.

ING spokeswoman Selena Sasse said demand from pension funds for more continental European exposure would result in the recruitment of one more researcher for the seven-strong team.

"Our clients are coming to us saying they’re interested in assets across Europe," she said. "There’s interest in both European and global mandates. In Europe, they’re looking for broader investment strategies."

Follows’ recruitment follows the acquisition last year of the Abbey portfolio and a corporate restructuring programme that has created five business units, "all with strong growth targets", according to Sasse.

"We’re focused on research as an integral part of the strategy," she said. "This gives us more manpower, basically."

Follows will report to managing director Ian Whittock.