GLOBAL - Mercer and Mn Services have bolstered their respective real estate teams.

Paul Richards (pictured left), previously head of indirect investment and global managed accounts at LaSalle Investment Management, has joined Mercer to head up the consultancy's new European real estate boutique.

Mercer announced last year it would transfer its investment manager research into individual asset class ‘boutiques' to provide pension funds with more specialist investment manager data.

The move was expected to entail the doubling of Mercer's original real estate and alternatives research teams, and Richards' appointment will be an important milestone in that expansion.

Richards was responsible for managing global portfolios of non-listed real estate funds for LaSalle's clients based in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

He has over 20 years of real estate experience in investment, corporate finance and research, and has advised investors, occupiers and venture capital companies on property portfolio strategy and on financial structuring.

Meanwhile, Dutch fiduciary manager and pension fund administrator Mn Services has reshuffled its real estate investment team with five promotions and appointments.

Oginda Vlijter has been promoted from fund manager to senior fund manager of Mn Services' global listed real estate team.

Vlijter takes over from Ruud Roosen, who is now an associate director at NIBC bank, while her previous role is assumed by Bert Lesterhuis, previously a trader at brokerage firm Petercam.

 Joep Barten, previously head of acquisitions at Mn Services, has taken over the role of senior fund manager on the Asia Pacific private international real estate team, a role previously held by Carolijn ter Haar who left for Morgan Stanley Investment Management at the end of 2008.

Lastly, Patrick Ruwiel has been appointed as fund manager on the European private international real estate team, and Jeroen Reijnoudt has joined the North American private real estate team as fund manager.

"Markets have been turbulent over the past two years and new times call for new approaches to existing markets worldwide if we are to take advantage of future opportunities," said Richard van Ovost, head of international real estate at Mn Services.