EUROPE - Asset managers Prupim and First State Investments have made changes to their real estate teams which they hope will improve their positions in the retail and infrastructure markets.

Prupim has promoted John Duxbury to director of asset management for the retail sector team, giving him responsibly for leading a team of 25 covering leasing, property management, marketing and customer service as well as nine people looking after the portfolios' nine shopping centres and their support teams.

Having been with the firm for 10 years, he previously managed and oversaw strategies for the retail portfolio within the Scottish Amicable Insurance Fund (SAIF).

He will now head up the team responsible for managing almost £6.5bn (€9bn) in assets under management.

It's a tricky market to be covering at present as some real estate experts have recently noted a slowdown in the retail consumer could in turn impact the returns potential of some retail portfolios, and yet some institutional investors are still buying into the space, most notably ABP last week. (See earlier IPE Real Estate story: ABP joint venture spends €2.7bn on shopping spree)

At the same time, First State has increased its focus on the global infrastructure market by appointing two additions to its already 34-strong London-based team.

Stephen O'Shea, former vice president of ING Bank's infrastrastructure finance and advisory group, has been named as associate director of transactions and capital projects, having built seven years experience in European infrastructure acquisitions and financing.

Hamish Lea-Wilson is also joining the firm from Kaupthing Singer Friedlander as executive for the same transactions and capital projects group. Prior to his time at Kaupthing, he spent three with PricewaterhouseCoopers advising on infrastructure acquisitions and refinancings in its Public Private Advisory Group.

First State Investments now manages in excess of £1.6bn (€2bn) in the European and Australian utility, transport and social infrastructure sectors.