EXCLUSIVE: Palmer Capital expands in Asia with Lo hire

The London-based private equity and venture capital real estate firm has hired Joyce Lo as a director to be responsible for developing its business with Asian investors and investment strategies in the Asia region.    

Palmer Capital Partners, the London-based private equity and venture capital real estate firm, has added to its senior ranks in Asia with the hire of Joyce Lo as a director. She started in the role today. 

She has joined Palmer Capital Asia, the firm’s Asia platform which was launched in 2012 and which is owned 50:50 with its management. 

Lo’s responsibilities are two-fold. Her primary focus is on business development and management. Initially, that means overseeing RedBox, Palmer’s self-storage business in Hong Kong. Over time it will include value-add and opportunistic investment strategies. 

Her secondary focus will be to help connect the firm’s bigger UK and European business with Asian institutional investors.

Palmer already has made inroads in that regard, tying up both Thai and Japanese capital with deals in the UK. The firm is understood to be sounding out further deals for Asian investors in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

In addition to owning meaningful stakes in nine operating companies, the firm manages about $500 million (€637 million; $795 million) in funds across Europe.

In 2012, Palmer acquired real estate fund manager Invista Real Estate Investment Management for £40 million, a deal that brought with it a self-storage investment fund with assets in Singapore and Hong Kong. Those assets were sold off last year, realizing for Palmer a 25 percent IRR, it is understood, and the proceeds were re-invested into the RedBox business. 

Now, Palmer is looking to grow its presence in the region and Lo’s hire is expected to go some way to facilitating that. 

Alex Price, chief executive officer at Palmer, told PERE how Lo’s hire could lead to further corporate acquisitions. He said: “We’re likely to do more specialist vehicles to start off with. Self-storage we know a lot about so that was the logical starting point. But in time – we’re a value-added and opportunistic investors – so that’s the space we’ll occupy when we do other products.

He added: “We’re keen to grow our business in Asia. It’s a region we think is exciting both as a source of capital but also in terms of exporting the knowledge we have in Europe.”

The platform is currently approximately 15-staff strong and is led by Simon Tyrrell.

Lo joined from Pramerica Real Estate investors (PREI), where she worked for more than three years as a senior vice president within the firm’s marketing team. Prior to that, she worked for Macau-focused property investment manager Sniper Capital and before that she worked at Lehman Brothers in various roles including for Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners.