Chou to lead Invesco Asia oppo business

Former MSREI head of China Calvin Chou has been appointed as the head of Invesco Real Estate Asia’s opportunistic funds business, in what is a newly created position for the region.  

Calvin Chou, the former head of China at Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), has been appointed head of the opportunistic funds business of Invesco Real Estate in Asia, PERE can reveal.

Based in Hong Kong, Chou has been mandated to lead firm’s opportunistic investments in Asia in what is billed as a wider push by the firm to expand its higher yielding investment activities more generally.

Invesco declined to comment on the appointment. However PERE understands that this is a newly-created role.

Graeme Torre, managing director and head of portfolio management for the Asia-Pacific region, and Cheng-Soon Lau, managing director and director of Asia Direct Real Estate have, until now, been leading the firm’s overall real estate investing strategy in the region. It is believed that since Torre will now be focusing on the core business, a decision was made to appoint someone new to take ownership of the opportunistic business.

Chou was previously the head of Greater China and South East Asia for MSREI, the real estate investment business of New York-based investment bank Morgan Stanley, where he had been working for 16 years.

In September last year, it was revealed that the investment bank restructured the senior hierarchy of its Asia business ahead of the launch of its first Asia core fund. According to an internal memo obtained during the time by PERE, the firm appointed specific country heads for China, Hong Kong and Singapore, moving away from a previous centralized model. The restructure led to the departure of Chou from the firm.

It had been believed that Chou would continue to stay in Hong Kong and start his own private real estate investment management business, but this appointment by Invesco has seemingly put such plans on hold.

In January 2013, close to three years after Invesco’s takeover of AIG’s $5.4 billion Asia real estate platform, the firm launched an opportunistic fund called Invesco Asia Real Estate Partners III. The target size of the fund was more than $500 million, with plans of investing the equity raised in Japan, Australia and China.

PERE has learnt that fundraising plans for the fund were put on hold soon after, prompted by the firm’s decision to focus on its pan-Asia open-ended core vehicle. So far, the firm is believed to have raised more than $500 million for that, and plans to raise $1 billion in total over the coming five years.

Another senior hire took place at Invesco earlier this year when Lindsay Wright, a former senior executive at Harvest Fund Management Group, was appointed as regional head of institutional, alternatives and investment solutions for the firm’s Asia-Pacific business, in what reportedly is another newly-created leadership role in the region.