Aviva Investors has created a £37bn (€42.3bn) real assets platform and sold parts of its real estate business to LaSalle Investment Management.

The investment manager is combining its real estate, infrastructure and private debt activities under one umbrella to be led by Mark Versey, who has been promoted to CIO of real assets.

Aviva Investors is simultaneously selling its Real Estate Multi-Manager (REMM) arm along with its interest in Encore+, a €1.7bn pan-European real estate fund that it had been co-managing with LaSalle.

Aviva Investors Real Assets (AIRA), meanwhile, will “focus on being a direct operator” in real assets.

Euan Munro, CEO of Aviva Investors, said: “This deal makes sense for both parties, as well as clients in the REMM business and Encore+.

“We will now focus our efforts on being a direct operator in our chosen markets in real assets, which is a strategic priority for our business.

“By focusing on our existing origination strengths in Europe and building out our product and global distribution capabilities, I am confident that we will establish Aviva Investors as a market-leading real assets platform. This is a key priority for our business.”

Alongside Versey, the real assets leadership team will comprise Barry Fowler, managing director of alternative income, Daniel McHugh, managing director of real estate investments, David Skinner, managing director of real estate strategy and fund management, and Chris Urwin, director of research for real assets.

The acquisition of REMM will take LaSalle’s indirect real estate assets under management from $3bn to $10bn (€8.61bn).

The enlarged multi-manager business at LaSalle will be led by Ed Casal, who joins from Aviva Investors and co-founded REMM.

Jeff Jacobson, Global CEO of LaSalle, said: “A strong multi-manager capacity has become increasingly important to LaSalle’s clients, and our global footprint and expertise provide a solid foundation to strengthen the incoming global indirect capabilities.

“This will enhance our capabilities to offer comprehensive integrated investment solutions across the risk spectrum in third-party fund investing, joint-ventures and co-investments.”

LaSalle will acquire Aviva’s rights and responsibilities as the fund manager of Encore+, the open-ended continental European real estate fund which has been jointly managed and run by both parties for 11 years.

LaSalle will become the sole manager of Encore+ and David Ironside will become the fund manager.

The fund, which has a gross asset value of €1.7bn, was recently the best performing fund in the IPD PEPFI for 2017. It has also been the top-performing fund in the index on an aggregate five-year basis.

“LaSalle has been a co-sponsor of the fund since its inception and I consider it a natural evolution to bring all operations under one roof in the next stage of its growth,” said Jacobson.