Strutt & Parker’s head of retail Chris Geaves is to launch a £300m fund with Sovereign Land.
The new fund aims to raise £300m to focus on UK shopping centres. It will be led by Geaves, who will work alongside Sovereign Land founder and chairman Tim Binnington and Max La Frenais, founding partner of agent Kitchen La Frenais Morgan, who joined Sovereign Land in 2007.
Geaves said: ‘We see this as a good point to enter the market to take advantage of market pricing and deliver good returns to our investors.’
Geaves and Binnington have worked together in varying capacities over the last 27 years.
Strutt & Parker will act as advisor and through its Strutt & Parker Real Estate Financial Services SPREFS will be the operator of the fund.
The fund plans to acquire, manage and reposition a portfolio of quality shopping centres to pre-empt the eventual stabilisation in the UK economy.
Geaves said: ‘The fund has a very experienced team with a proven access to market deal flow, a long term track record and an outstanding network of industry relationships. There has never been a better time to pursue such an opportunity. The UK market is experiencing one of the most dramatic corrections in market pricing it has seen.
The pricing correction is fundamentally rebasing investment values, which will mean that the next year or so will present the best buying opportunity in terms of value and quality for two decades.
He added: ‘We see market values continuing to fall until the autumn of this year when we predict some stability.’
The fund has appointed Matrix Funds Group as its principal placement agent.
The fund aims to achieve its first closing by the third quarter of 2009.
Geaves resigned a year ago from the partnership and has been working his notice for the past year.
He will formally relinquish his role as equity partner at the end of April but will remain at Strutt & Parker to oversee the reorganisation of the retail management structure and maintain his client work until the fund has launched. He has been with the firm for 17 years.