UK - John Gellatly, a director in CSFB’s real estate investment banking team, is to join Merrill Lynch Investment Management as head of indirect real estate investment and strategy.

The move could signal the intent of MLIM to become involved in the UK real estate investment trust market if REITs are given the legislative go-ahead next year, industry insiders said.

REITs are tax-exempt, liquid vehicles for investing in real estate and could provide access to the asset class for pension funds.

Gellatly is part of the real estate industry team which has been lobbying the UK Treasury to introduce REITs and co-wrote a research paper submitted to the government on behalf of the industry.

A former property equities analyst at ABN Amro, he joined CSFB as an analyst in 2001. In July 2003, he joined CSFB's real estate investment banking team and was involved in equity-raising for European real estate funds.

Gellatly will be working with MLIM’s head of real estate investment, Ian Mason. The group currently manages the £1bn (€1.45bn) Merrill Lynch Property Fund and last year launched a real estate fund of funds.