ING hires ex-Broadway exec to lead French investments

Despite trying to sell itself to third parties, the real estate investment arm of the Dutch insurance group has hired Bruno Cohen as CIO of its Paris office.

ING Real Estate Investment Management has appointed former Broadway Partners executive Bruno Cohen as chief investment officer of its French operations.

Cohen spent the past three years managing the European office of New York-based Broadway and prior to that spent three years at AEW Europe as executive director, in charge of pan-European investments for funds managed by Curzon Global Partners, ING said in a statement.

The 47-year-old will be based in ING’s Paris office, managed by Silvio Estienne, leading the firm’s transaction activities and monitoring asset management of its €1.7 billion portfolio of retail, office, residential and logistic properties.

Cohen spent seven years as managing director at Tishman Speyer Properties, leading Tishman’s French operations, and prior to that worked for Hammerson as head of the firm’s office and city retail department.

ING Group last year announced plans to retreat from the real estate investment business altogether as it looked to concentrate on its core operations.

In June, the company hired Morgan Stanley to start the sales process, with initial bids expected by mid-September, according to sources. Morgan Stanley has been charged with selling ING REIM intact, however industry professionals suggested a likely outcome would be for ING to sell its regional arms, including New York-based ING Clarion, ING REIM Europe and ING REIM Asia, separately.

That move was heightened last month when ING sold its Canadian real estate arm to investment firm KingSett Capital and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), a consortium of institutional investors. KingSett and AIMCo cquired ING’s interest in the Summit Industrial Fund for C$2 billion (€1.5 billion; $1.9 billion), including the assumption of debt. An Australian listed ING property fund, ING Industrial Fund, will continue to own the remaining half of Summit.

As part of the deal, ING said KingSett and AIMCo, the C$69 billion umbrella group of Canadian pensions, endowments and government funds, would also buy the ING Real Estate Canada platform, which manages the Summit fund, for an undisclosed sum.

Estienne, chief executive officer of ING REIM France, said Cohen would source new deals for the firm’s “pan-European or domestic funds, and for our international and French institutional clients in club deals and mandates”.