Fidelity International, one of the world’s largest investors in property securities, has unveiled plans to move into direct property investment

The US-based investor has assembled a three-man team to spearhead its expansion.

Keith Sutton joins Fidelity from GLL Real Estate Partners as director of European real estate; Matthew Richardson has been recruited from Experian Business Strategies to lead Fidelity’s direct property research team; while John Redmond, who joined the group from JPMorgan in August, has been appointed head of real estate operations.

Sutton will assume responsibility for Fidelity’s continental European acquisitions and asset management across all sectors. Richardson, former head of property finance at Experian, is expected to help devise a strategy for the team. Redmond’s main task will be to design property fund structures.

News of the appointment puts to rest several weeks of speculation regarding Fidelity’s ambitions in the direct property market. Until now, the investor has been reluctant to stray away from its core investment activities in property stocks, but the need to invest steady inflows of cash have persuaded it to consider other ways of increasing exposure to property.

Neil Cable, Fidelity’s European head of real estate, said: ‘With these latest appointments confirmed, the development of Fidelity’s real estate business is really beginning to gather momentum.’