Fiona Rowley has announced she is stepping down as co-manager of the currently suspended M&G Property Portfolio, following 27 years at M&G Real Estate.
As per the succession plan, Rowley will hand the reins to co-manager Justin Upton, who has worked alongside her over the past eight years, while James Mieville will remain as the fund's investment specialist.
Trading in the fund and its feeder fund has been suspended since December 2019 when it was shuttered due to "unusually high and sustained outflows", which the firm attributed to "Brexit-related political uncertainty and ongoing structural shifts in the UK retail sector".
A statement from M&G said the fund "will reopen once cash levels have been sufficiently restored and the material uncertainty clause has been lifted".
Rowley said: "I have had a fantastic career at M&G, which would not have been possible without the encouragement and continued support from senior management in my progression ultimately to become a fund manager.
"Having had such a close working relationship with Justin and the support of a highly experienced team behind the scenes, has made my decision so much easier and give me and the business comfort that I leave the fund in the very best of hands."
Upton added: "In a changing economic environment with record low interest rates, a steady income stream is now more important than ever.
"My key focus will be to maintain a healthy income distribution for our clients and customers, whilst managing higher levels of liquidity against the current uncertain backdrop of Covid-19. I will also seek to ensure the fund is well positioned to take advantage of the demographic and technological changes we are witnessing in society and the economy."
Martin Towns, head of UK commercial at M&G Real Estate, said: "Fiona's formidable leadership on the fund has produced consistent income returns and long term capital growth for our investors over an extended period.
"Her close working relationship with Justin and the combination of his own longstanding experience and deep knowledge of the commercial property market, enables us to carry out a smooth succession whilst retaining our focus on doing our very best for customers at this challenging time.
"Justin's knowledge of the asset and investor base put him in the best possible position to take the fund forward.
"I would like to thank Fiona for her significant contribution to the business and wish her all the best for the future."
Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, said: "It is a shame that the industry is losing a female fund manager, especially one with Fiona's experience, but we wish her well for the future.
"I am not familiar with co-manager Justin Upton, but after eight years working with Fiona on the fund, subject to shareholder approval, he seems ideally placed to take on its management after and orderly handover."