The top two property managers at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership have resigned to set up on their own

Head of property Tom Laidlaw and his deputy Mike Channing will continue to work at SWIP until the end of the year.

Laidlaw joined Scottish Widows in 1986 and is credited with spearheading the institutions’ drive back into property in 2002. Details of the new venture have not yet been disclosed.

Laidlaw told Property Week: ‘Mike and I have resigned as we are looking for a change of lifestyle having been involved in the running of Scottish Widows Investment Partnerships property funds for more than 15 years.’

Scottish Widows doubled its property fund size in 2000 with the purchase of the £700m Guardian portfolio. Later that same year its fund management business was merged with new parent Lloyds TSB’s Hill Samuel arm and renamed Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.

Channing, who joined in 1990 and was made deputy head of property last year, heads the Scottish Widows Unit Linked Property Fund and the Lloyds TSB Pension Funds property portfolio.

Scottish Widows has launched a search for replacements to head the 31-strong team. A spokeswoman said: ‘Recruitment to replace them is underway, looking at both internal and external candidates.’