Heron chief executive Gerald Ronson today laid into hedge fund managers making a fortune out of property – saying he wouldn’t trust them to do his `shopping at Tesco’.

Ronson was addressing around 400 guests at Heron’s annual lunch at London’s Savoy Hotel.

He continued: `Hedge funds, and property funds. Everyone is starting one, but these people only know a bull market.

`However, the next few years will require more than an ability to write a cheque. They will be challenging for property: experience and judgment will sort the men out from the boys.’

Heron chairman Lowell Milken, in his response to Ronson, said: `Hedge fund managers are earning $70bn annually in total fees.

`This is one of the most significant wealth transfers ever. And private equity fund managers are hot on their heels.’

Ronson said 2006 had seen `extraordinary levels’ of liquidity, and that investors will now have to rely on significant improvements in capital values to generate acceptable returns.

The guestlist for the event included Labour chief fundraiser Lord Levy, Sir Rocco Forte, Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin and Sun International chairman Sol Kerzner.

Ronson said 2006 – its 50th year – had been a record one for Heron. He confirmed that having raised equity and debt funding its Heron Tower in the City will open in 2010.