ING names Wilson Lee head of opportunity investment in Europe

Wilson Lee, the former UBS and Lehman Brothers real estate professional, has joined ING Real Estate Investment Management in Europe to lead the firm’s new opportunity fund business in the region.

ING Real Estate has appointed Wilson Lee as European managing director and portfolio manager of its new opportunistic investment platform, which is seeking to raise $1.5 billion (€969 million).

The appointment is the last piece of the jigsaw for ING after David Gilbert was appointed last year to head up the new business from New York and run US investments, and Peter Kim was appointed to run the Asia operation.

Dutch group ING’s real estate investment management business is the largest in the world with €72 billion of assets under management mainly within core and core-plus funds. Two years ago the group decided to launch a global opportunity platform in a bid to diversify its product base and respond to investors.

Lee was most recently managing director and head of real estate finance for UBS’ Middle East and Asia Pacific regions, and previously at Lehman Brothers for 17 years, including eight years as managing director and European head of Lehman’s Global Real Estate Group.

Gilbert said the breadth and depth of experience that Wilson brought to the European business would allow ING to expand its leadership position in the investment management business. Lee will be based in ING’s UK office rather than its headquarters in the Netherlands, the firm said in a statement.

ING Investment Management rocked earlier this month by the decision of chairman and chief executive David Blight to resign in order to return to Australia for family reasons. Blight has been responsible for creating the opportunity real estate platform after being in the job for three and a half years. He leaves at the end of August, his replacement has yet to be named.

See next month’s issue of PERE magazine for an interview with the outgoing chairman and chief executive.