Ivanhoé Cambridge to expand investment teams in Asia

The Canadian investor plans to open an office in Sydney next year as well as add to its Singapore and Shanghai teams.

Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate investment management business of Canadian institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, is setting up teams closer to its investments in Asia-Pacific as its portfolio continues to grow in the region, PERE can reveal exclusively.

George Agethen, the firm’s senior vice-president, relocated to Singapore from Hong Kong this month. Agethen will lead the expansion of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s Singapore office, co-locating with CDPQ. It is understood that the real estate investor will grow the Singapore team from one to six people before the end of the year. Ivanhoé Cambridge also plans to open an office in Sydney next year as well as add to its Shanghai team, PERE can reveal.

The investor is actively looking for opportunities in Australia while it has deployed capital in China and Singapore for 10 out of the firm’s 19 investments in the region. Earlier this month, the firm participated in one of Australia’s largest logistics transactions, where it partnered with logistics platform LOGOS to pay A$1.65 billion ($1.2 billion; €1.1billion) for Moorebank Logistics Park project in Sydney.

“We want to be closer to our investments, partners and markets as our portfolio has grown significantly over the past few years, and as we expect it to continue to grow in the coming years,” said Agethen. The firm’s investment team was originally based in Hong Kong when Agethen joined in 2015. Over the past six years, the firm has built a team of 20-strong in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Mumbai.

Ivanhoé Cambridge has historically invested in Asia, but ramped up its activity when it opened its first regional office in Hong Kong in 2015. That same year, the investor hired Agethen, former head of Ping An Trust’s alternative investments department, to lead its investments in the region. Since then, the firm’s total assets under management in Asia-Pacific have grown from less than C$1 billion ($787 million; €668 million) in 2015 to around C$4 billion in 2021.

The Canadian investor plans to double its real estate allocation in Asia-Pacific in the short to medium term, Agethen said in a MIPIM forum in February. The region currently makes up 7 percent of the investor’s C$64 billion global portfolio, with investments focused on the industrial and multifamily sectors.

Similar to the more established global investors in the region such as Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management and Canada’s CPP Investments, Ivanhoé Cambridge prefers active investment structures and has invested mostly in direct or club deals. Therefore, Agethen stressed that it was important for the firm to be on the ground with its partners to source deals and to manage its own assets.