Ares boosts real estate secondaries strategy for Asia with key hire

The Los Angeles-headquartered asset management firm has followed the recruitment of an Asia real estate head on the direct side with a second appointment intended to lead its indirect investments in the region.

Ares Management is expected to launch a dedicated investment team as part of a push to expand its focus on indirect investment opportunities in Asia, PERE can reveal.

The move comes with the appointment of its first senior executive for its secondaries group in the region. Danielle Lau joins the Los Angeles-headquartered manager’s secondaries business in the region, based in Hong Kong.

Lau previously worked for investor Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and before that, managers Aetos Capital and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing.

She will work closely with Ares’ secondaries real estate teams in Boston and London, including partner Paul Parker, who was overseeing the group’s activities in both Europe and Asia from London.

“We have one the largest dedicated teams focused on real estate secondaries in the US and Europe and are pleased to expand our capabilities in the growing Asia-Pacific secondaries market,” said Francisco Borges, partner and co-head of Ares’ secondaries group, in a statement.

The hire of Lau is also part of Ares’ broader push into the real estate markets of Asia. It follows August’s appointment of ex-KKR executive Bryan Southergill in Hong Kong as partner and head of real estate investments.

Ares’ secondaries group is largely comprised of the Landmark Partners business it acquired last year in a transaction valued at more than $1 billion.

The firm invests in the real estate secondaries market via its global Landmark Real Estate Partners fund series. Ares is currently in the market fundraising for the ninth iteration in the series, Landmark Real Estate Partners IX, for which it is understood to be targeting approximately $3.5 billion. Ares declined to discuss fundraising.

The real estate series was the most successful of Landmark’s business lines at the point of its acquisition by Ares last year, generating 25 percent-plus returns from more than 170 transactions, according to public documents.

As of June, Ares had more than $334 billion of assets under management. Currently, approximately 12 percent, or $40 billion, of Ares’ assets are institutional direct assets in Asia. The firm’s real estate secondaries business, meanwhile, accounts for approximately $7.5 billion of the firm’s asset base.