Grosvenor appoints RBS’ Laughlin to Asia role

The appointment comes as Grosvenor tees up its next Japan fund. The vehicle will target a range of real estate sectors.

London-based real estate investment and fund management firm Grosvenor has appointed Morgan Laughlin as managing director, Grosvenor Fund Management, Asia Pacific.

According to an announcement on the hire by Grosvenor, Laughlin will assume the newly created role from 1 January.

Grosvenor said the appointment was part of a wider push to expand its fund management business in Asia, a region it has long been looking to grow its assets under management to a greater percentage of total assets than currently.

The firm said: “Grosvenor has been operating in Asia since 1994 when it opened its first office in Hong Kong, followed by offices in Tokyo in 2001, Shanghai in 2004 and Beijing in 2010. The Group’s top priorities include increasing its capital allocation to Asia and growing the fund management business.”

Laughlin’s appointment is designed to aid the firm in increasing its exposure to the region beyond three funds in Japan and one in China on behalf of a 24-strong investor pool.

He will be based at Grosvenor’s Tokyo office.

He was previously managing director and regional head of real estate finance Asia Pacific for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), joining in 2006. Prior to that, he was head of RREEF’s Non-Japan Asia business.

Stuart Beevor, managing director of Grosvenor Fund Management said of the appointment: “His arrival is particularly timely given our plans to commence marketing of our next Japan Fund.” The fund will have invest in a number of sectors in Japan, Grosvenor said.

In April, the firm said it expected to raise $500 million for the core plus to value-added vehicle and was seeking IRRs of 13 percent to 15 percent.

Nick Loup, chief executive, Grosvenor Asia Pacific, said then: “This is what we would call a recovery fund because the Tokyo market was one of the most severely hit and consequently there is a good cyclical window of opportunity at the moment.”

Of Laughlin’s appointment, he said:”Grosvenor has grown its fund management business in the region to a scale where it now clearly deserves having a fully dedicated management team.”

Grosvenor, which had assets under management of £10.2 billion (€12 billion; $16 billion) has been particularly acquisitive in Asia of the past few months, most notably investing in an 80 percent stake in Hong Kong’s PCCW Tower from its balance sheet, and $254 million in The North shopping centre in Shanghai from its China retail fund.