Hally to leave Aviva as JPMorgan deal looms

The chief executive officer of Aviva Investors’ Asian real estate business is expected to hand over the leadership of the $1 billion platform to JPMorgan Asset Management’s David Chen when the takeover completes next month.

The chief executive officer for the Asia-Pacific real estate investment management business of UK insurer Aviva is to leave in the wake of its sale to JPMorgan, PERE has learned. 

It is understood that Ian Hally’s five-year leadership of the approximately 20-staff platform will come to an end after Aviva Investors, the insurer’s investment business, offloads it to the US investment bank in a deal expected to complete next month.

According to sources familiar with situation, the transaction is just regulatory and stakeholder approvals away from completing. It is being brokered by property agent Jones Lang LaSalle.

There has been much speculation surrounding how much the platform is expected to change hands for, particularly in the Australian media where one newspaper reported the transaction as being “worth about $300 million.” However, PERE understands the reality to be closer to between $10 million and $15 million.

Aviva Investors’ Asia real estate business, which is responsible for a number of funds and separate accounts, including a pan-regional property fund, a series of small Australian logistics property funds and a core-plus club fund jointly managed with Tokyo’s Secured Capital, manages approximately $1 billion of assets.

It will be merged into the Asian real assets division of JPMorgan Asset Management, the investment bank’s asset management arm, and its leadership with be assumed by David Chen, a long termer at the bank who currently is its chief investment officer and head of real estate in the region.

The deal should see JPMorgan’s real estate assets in Asia double in value to $2 billion. The bank's exposure to the asset class in the region currently resides mainly in China and India. With Aviva’s focus currently on Australia, Japan and New Zealand, there should be minimal geographical overlap.

Hally was unavailable for comment when approached by PERE, and it is unclear at this stage what his next move will be. A 20-year real estate industry veteran, he previously worked for Scottish Widows Investment Partnership latterly as its global head of real estate strategy. Prior to that, he worked for another investment manager, F&C Asset Management, as an analyst. 

Neither Aviva Investors nor JPMorgan would comment.