Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management has opened an office in Dubai in a bid to move closer to Middle Eastern institutional investors.
The firm announced the office opening today, adding that it would be headed by regional director Nick Brooks, who had been working in a client servicing capacity from its London office.
Brooks will become the first port of call for Middle Eastern institutional investors, some of which have large amounts of resources stemming from the proceeds of natural resources, ahead of potential investments in the firm’s range of real estate funds.
Brooks said: “We believe that Gulf investors will find the current positive position of many of the world’s real estate markets attractive, and being present in the Gulf in real time will help us serve them in an increasingly meaningful way.”
Brooks added that the office would enable LaSalle to ‘monitor’ Middle Eastern real estate markets “to determine the potential to expand our business to the Gulf region in the future.”
LaSalle compared the Middle Eastern real estate markets to those of Southeast Asia at the beginning of 2001. In the announcement, it said: “It was at this time following the Asian Financial Crisis that LaSalle established a presence in the region with its first office in Singapore, a business that now manages more than USD $6.6 billion in real estate assets and employs approximately 200 staff across six Asian countries.”
“The company is confident that with its global and local investors it can similarly capitalize on opportunities in the Middle East and is well positioned to timely and strategically grow its business in a region where it foresees growth.”
Other US platforms have been positioning themselves in the Middle East with a duel approach. Last July, Pramerica Real Estate Investors formed a joint venture business with Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund aimed at both providing Middle East investors with a conduit to its products but also to invest capital into the emirate’s housing developments.
In September, CBRE Investors, the real estate investment management arm of Jones Lang LaSalle's closest rival Richard Ellis also opened an office in Dubai to be closer to the local investor community.