Three months after hiring Mark Howard-Johnson as the Global Head of Real Estate Securities Management, BlackRock today unveiled the first of a series of real estate funds to be managed by Howard-Johnson's new unit.

According to a filing, the new BlackRock Real Estate Securities Fund will bet on a portfolio of equity real estate investments in the United States. Its annual fund operating expense vary from 105 basis points to 205 basis points depending on the share classes. The fund is managed by Howard-Johnson and Sherry Rexroad, who joined the firm in June as chief investment officer, Real Estate Securities.

A spokesman for the firm was not immediately available to comment on the firm's latest REIT fund.

In a statement, Jack Chandler, Global Head of Real Estate at BlackRock, said: "BlackRock is already the largest manager in the REIT sector across a broad range of products - expanding this expertise for dedicated actively managed products is a natural extension of the firm's robust real estate capabilities."

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