ING Select restructuring prompts Wong to resign

Nicholas Wong, managing director for Asia Pacific of ING Real Estate Select, the multi manager business of ING Real Estate Investment Management, has resigned from his position as the division’s restructuring leads to the consolidation of its Asia offices.

The restructuring of ING Real Estate Select, the global multi manager business of Real Estate Investment Management, has led to the departure of its Asia head, Nicholas Wong.

In a note to colleagues sent this morning, Wong said the consolidatiion of ING Select's Hong Kong office, where he was located, with its other office in Singapore to form one Asia headquarters – led to his decision to leave the business.

He told PERE shortly afterwards: “I have been asked to move to Singapore but for family reasons that is very difficult.”

Following his final day with ING Select, which he joined in November 2007, Wong will consider his future. He said: “I have not decided what to do next but I will definitely stay in Hong Kong and definitely remain in real estate continuing what I do best.”

Wong is the latest senior figure to leave the platform, which controlled approximately $6 billion of indirect investments as of 30 September 2009, as a result of its restructuring.

In January, ING Select's founder and chief executive, Nick Cooper, resigned after its European operation was consolidated to ING Group’s headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands. Cooper had led its efforts from an office in London. Three months later, chief investment officer, Damien Smith followed Cooper through the door. Both Cooper and Smith also cited personal reasons for their respective departures.

In an interview published in the February issue of PERE, Cooper’s replacement, Jan Meulenbelt, said the restructuring signalled a “back to basics” approach aimed at offering products that are “easier to understand and that have clear corporate governance”.

Under the plan, ING Select’s operating businesses would become better aligned with its support functions such as its legal and tax departments, Meulenbelt said at the time. As part of the restructuring, ING Select is planning to open its global fund of funds vehicles to investors so they can invest on a regional basis as well as – or instead of – on a global basis.