Forum Asia head quits to go solo

Merrit Maddux, head of Asia at private equity real estate firm Forum Partners, has left after six years to start his own firm Rail Canyon Capital. He has been replaced by ex-Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Paul Hastings executive Gregory Wells.

Merrit Maddux has brought the curtain down on his six-year tenure as head of Asia at private equity real estate firm Forum Partners in order to start his own firm, PERE has learned.

Maddux left Forum Partners in November of last year, about six years after he joined, and has since set up investment management firm Rail Canyon Capital.

Maddux, who could not be reached for comment, was one of four Forum executives to have resigned from the firm’s Asia offices. The other three leavers were more junior.

Forum announced yesterday Gregory Wells has joined as his replacement from Deutsche Bank where he established and managed the bank’s commercial real estate business in the Asia-Pacific region. He shifted his focus to the US in July 2011.

Wells has 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, from building Paul Hastings’ Chinese real estate law practice in Shanghai and having held multiple roles at Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, including chief financial officer of its real estate funds business, according to a firm statement.

Like Maddux, Wells will also be based at Forum’s Hong Kong office. The change will have no impact on the firm's Asia strategy.

While Maddux has been replaced by Wells his ties with the firm have not been completely severed. Currently, he remains a consultant with Forum Partners and is active in certain legacy investments.

In the announcement, Russell Platt, chief executive of Forum Partners, said: “Greg’s proven experience and dynamic approach will be integral to growing our business in Asia, and in continuing to build lasting relationships with our institutional partners and portfolio companies.”

In Asia, Forum Partners is primarily focused on investing the remaining money from Forum Asian Realty Income III and harvesting the investments from Fund II. The firm is expected to make a number of exits from that fund next year.

Forum has $6 billion in assets under management, and has made investments in 17 countries across Europe and Asia since its 2002 establishment. However, seven of the firm’s ten offices are in the Asia-Pacific region, and the firm’s most recent fund – which closed last April on $375 million – is Asia-focused.