JLL plots corporate finance expansion in Asia as head resigns

The global property services firm told PERE it wants to expand the offering of its corporate finance offering beyond capital raising, despite platform head Nicholas Crockett’s resignation last week.

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the world’s second largest property services firm, is to reconfigure its corporate finance team in Asia Pacific as it seeks to expand its offering to investors.

Last week, the platform’s head Nicholas Crockett resigned to take on another role in the New Year. JLL confirmed his pending departure and told PERE it would shortly make “several new hires who will join the regional team”.

Stuart Crow, JLL’s head of capital markets in Asia Pacific, said: “We are refocusing our corporate finance team to reflect and be able to service changing client demands.”

“Investors increasingly want access to a range of investment opportunities, so we are complementing our current corporate finance offering beyond fund raising to include debt, co-investment and joint venture partnerships.”

“Nick has decided to seek new opportunities outside of the firm, and we wish him well in this. We are in the process of significantly growing this service offering to clients and shortly will announce several new hires who will join the regional team.”

In seeking to expand its remit beyond capital raising JLL becomes the latest financial organisation to position itself as an advisory resource for institutional investors as well as investment managers. One other organisation to have notably made the evolution successfully is Macquarie Capital which previously advised principally on traditional commingled fundraisings on behalf of fund managers but latterly has advised institutional investors take on investments more directly via club structures or joint ventures.

Crockett has become in recent years one of Asia’s better known placement agents. He has advised on capital raisings including New Delhi-based private equity real estate firm Red Fort Capital’s $500 million haul for its second India opportunity fund, Red Fort India Real Estate Fund II as well as Australia-focused fund manager Altis Property Partners’ A$107.1 million (€87.8 million; $111.7 million) Altis Real Estate Equity Partnership. Both occurred over the last 12 months.

He also advised Secured Capital on its approximately ¥150 billion (€1.48 billion; $1.9 billion) acquisition of Tokyo office monolith Pacific Century Place in December 2009 from its lenders.

Crockett was also instrumental in the formation of Asia’s first real estate secondaries trading platform, Secondary Market Bulletin (SMB), in August this year. The platform was launched with an initial batch of investments valued at about $250 million and has already completed transactions. The platform is led currently by director John Wills from JLL’s Sydney office.

Crockett is understood to have already taken another role which he would join in February next year. He declined to comment when approached.