Real estate services firm JLL has boosted its capital markets team in Japan with the addition of two senior executives, in part to meet the growing demand for Japanese cross-border investments, PERE has learned.

The firm has appointed Kenichi Negishi to replace his predecessor Akihiko Mizuno as the new head of capital markets in Japan. Arthur de Haast, chairman of JLL’s capital market board, will also join the firm’s Tokyo office from the UK.

“This is part of our ongoing strategy of expanding our team in Japan to provide a broader range of services, combing Arthur’s vast experience with Kenichi’s commercial property expertise, to meet a growing  demand for cross-border deals,” said Stuart Crow, chief executive officer of capital market Asia Pacific at JLL.

PERE understands that Negishi joined the firm in June 2018 as the deputy head of capital markets in Japan. Prior to that, he led the real estate lending business in Japan for Dekabank, a German financial services provider. At Deka, he helped to set up its representative office in Japan in 2008. With over 25 years of experience in real estate financing, Negishi also worked at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, JP Morgan Securities Asia and Nomura Real Estate Development.

In his new role, Negishi will lead the real estate brokerage’s advisory service business in Japan to grow and maintain the network of global and local institutional clients. Meanwhile, his predecessor Akihiko Mizuno will continue to support the team until his departure in June.

de Haast’s relocation is understood to be driven by a wider push by JLL to support outbound real estate investments by the firm’s Japanese institutional investor base, in addition to his original role of developing global strategies. Over the past few years, Japanese institutional investors have been gradually increasing their overseas alternatives allocation. In 2018, for instance, total overseas real estate investments by Japanese investors was $1.52 billion, according a JLL report.

JLL also estimates inbound investments into Japan real estate markets to grow. According to a recent report, Tokyo’s investment volumes rose from $15.4 billion (€13.7 billion) in 2017 to $17.9 billion (€15.9 billion) in 2018.

Globally, JLL has been taking an active role to engage institutional investors looking to deploy capital into different real estate markets. To fully leverage its resources as a global real estate brokerage firm, it started its fund advisory service in 2017 to provide advisory and capital raising services for funds. The unit has grown to a team of 24 people within two years.