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AXA IM names Japan head

Yoshihiko Hayafuji has joined the real estate subsidiary of French insurance company AXA from global property group Grosvenor.

AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets has appointed Yoshihiko Hayafuji as head of Japan.

Hayafuji joins the real estate subsidiary of the French insurance company AXA to oversee all transactions, business operations, capital raising and development activity in Japan.

He joins from global property company Grosvenor’s Japan branch, where he worked as director of fund management, responsible for managing three funds and then as director of investment, responsible for all aspects of the investment cycle. Prior to that, he worked at Aetos Japan on the valuation team, overseeing real estate valuation for the fund acquisitions. Hayafuji began his career at Nomura Real Estate.

Based in Tokyo, Hayafuji will report directly to Frank Khoo, global head of Asia.
“As one of the most attractive markets for institutional investors looking for portfolio diversification, in both Asia and further afield, having someone of Yoshihiko’s experience will enable us to further enhance the value that we aim to offer to our partners and clients, in a region that is set to benefit from the heightened volatility and unpredictability affecting other key geographies,” said Khoo.

AXA IM has had a platform in Japan for some time and launched the Tokyo Office Property Fund (TOP) in August 2012, a closed-ended vehicle that would be invested in mid-sized office properties in the Japanese capital.

The fund’s ¥20 billion ($192 million; €170 million) portfolio was invested across five assets and liquidated in October. TOP delivered an internal rate of return of 25 percent, far exceeding the firm’s original return expectations of around 10 percent, according to a statement.

The divestment of the fund came less than a month after AXA IM-Real Assets made one of its largest property deals in the region with the purchase of Eureka Funds Management, a Sydney-based independent real estate fund and investment manager for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition significantly bolstered the firm’s assets under management in Asia. Prior to the purchase of Eureka, which has assets under management of more than A$5 billion ($3.8 billion; €3.4 billion), AXA IM – Real Asset’s Asia AUM was previously around €550 million.