EXCLUSIVE: MSREI promotes Bando to head Asia

Toru Bando, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing’s head of Japan, has been promoted to become the firm’s regional head as current head Hoke Slaughter returns to the US.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), the real estate investment management business of New York investment bank, has undergone further personnel change within the senior ranks of its Asia platform, PERE can reveal.

MSREI has promoted head of Japan Toru Bando to become its next head of Asia, replacing current regional head Hoke Slaughter, who is expected to return to the US but to continue working for the bank platform.

The promotion marks something of an ascent for Tokyo-based Bando, who was only made head of acquisitions for Asia in September as part of a wider raft of senior changes within the Asia team.

According to a memo, obtained by PERE, the succession will happen at the end of June.

The memo read: “Since joining the firm in 1999, Toru has steadily advanced through the REI ranks, becoming head of Japan in 2011 and head of acquisitions earlier this year. One of MSREI’s most experienced investors, Toru has proven himself as a leader and is ready to take over from Hoke in what has been a carefully planned transition.”

Slaughter, meanwhile, is expected to switch his focus from opportunistic investing on behalf of MSREI’s eponymous Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) global opportunity fund series to growing its international core business and on other “special projects”, according to one source familiar with the matter. Indeed, MSREI launched a real estate fund for core-style Asian investments at the turn of the year and Slaughter is expected to play a leading role with that, for example.

The same source suggested Bando had been “groomed for the role” amid a long-held understanding at MSREI that Slaughter “was never going to be spending 25 years of his career in Asia”. Slaughter took over as head of Asia six years ago when the platform was facing a challenging future following the global financial crisis.

Since then, however, the firm has done much to restore its reputation and last summer it re-established itself as a capital raising force when it garnered more than $1 billion for its incoming eighth MSREF fund, is first opportunistic capital raising haul since 2010.

Nonetheless, its comeback has not prevented some meaningful turnover within the platform’s ranks, particularly in Asia. In the last six months research head Paul Mouchakkaa left to become senior investment officer for real assets at US pension fund, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, while head of China, Calvin Chou left to set up his own business. Last month, Hong Kong head Noah Wangh and managing director Denise Lau also left the firm.