Baring Private Equity Asia hires PREI's Charles Lam

Weeks after appointing Pramerica Real Estate Investors’ acquisitions vice president Joji Thomas, the Hong Kong-based private equity firm has now hired its managing director for Greater China.

Charles Lam, the recently-departed managing director for Greater China at Pramerica Real Estate Investors (PREI,) has become the third real estate-focussed professional to join Hong Kong-based private equity firm Baring Private Equity Asia.

Baring, the Asia-focused private equity businesses with $5 billion of assets under management, started the creation of its first dedicated real estate platform in June with the hire of ex-AIG Global Real Estate and RREEF senior executive Mark Fogle. It has since followed up with the hire of Lam’s former PREI colleague, vice-president Joji Thomas. Thomas was a vice president responsible for acquisitions in India, Korea and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Lam is understood to have left PREI earlier this month and is currently on gardening leave ahead of joining Baring where he will assume the role of managing director responsible for the firm’s real estate investments in Greater China, similar to his time at PREI. Initially, Baring’s direct real estate investments are expected to be made from the firm’s Fund V which closed on its hard cap of $2.5 billion in February although PERE understands a dedicated real estate fund could materialise at a later time.

Lam joining Baring reflects something of a reunion with Fogle as the two worked together at AIG Global Real Estate during Lam’s tenure at the firm which spanned 1998 to 2005. Lam also previously worked for Hong Kong-based Sun Hung Kai Properties Group, Chicago-based developer, The John Buck Company and China Ping An Trust & Investment, the investment arm of Ping An Insurance Group, where he was head of its real estate investment business. While at Ping An, Lam was responsible for more than $900 million of assets and developments in China, leading a team of 15 professionals. He joined PREI from Ping An in 2007 where he went on to complete more than $1 billion of investments, refinancing and sales in China and Hong Kong, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Baring Private Equity Asia, the product of a management buyout from ING Group in 2000, has to date specialized in growth private equity investments and mid-market buyouts. Typical businesses targeted by the firm have enterprise values of between $100 million and $500 million.

Baring Private Equity Asia would not comment.