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AEW loses manager amid Asia fund launch – Exclusive

Gillian Chee was only brought on board in May to help launch the firm’s first  open-ended core fund in Asia.

Gillian Chee has left AEW, less than four months after joining the Boston-headquartered firm as senior fund manager.

An AEW spokesperson did not comment on the reason behind her departure, but confirmed that “AEW and Gillian have mutually agreed to part ways”. The firm also confirmed that Chee was not currently employed by AEW, nor was she subject to any key person clauses during the time of her employment. The firm has not announced a replacement.

Before joining AEW’s Asia-Pacific team in May, Chee spent more than four years as fund manager of Singapore-based real estate investment management firm SC Capital Partners’ open-ended core vehicle in Asia. She had previously spent six years as a senior vice-president at the UK-based Aviva Investors, where she led the firm’s Pan-Asian real estate open-ended property fund, which was launched in 2008.

AEW declined to comment on any fundraising activities. However, sources close to the situation told PERE that Chee had been hired to help launch the firm’s first open-ended core fund in Asia. It is understood that AEW came up with the plan for the fund last year, but has yet to finalize an official launch for the vehicle. According to two sources, the firm’s plan was to launch the fund and raise around $500 million before the end of this year, or by early next year.

Despite having multiple core funds in both the US and Europe, AEW has been focusing on core plus/value-add real estate opportunities in gateway cities in Asia-Pacific. In June 2018 PERE reported that the firm had closed the latest iteration of its regional flagship fund AEW Value Investors Asia III at $1.12 billion, significantly more than its $750 million initial fundraising target. It was understood that all 10 investors in its $640 million predecessor AEW Value Investors Asia II had re-invested in fund III. These investors comprised US and European public and private pension funds and insurance companies.