LaSalle Investment Management has received a license to conduct its asset management business in the country, which will give the firm access to the country’s institutional investors for fundraising and deals.
LaSalle Investment Management has obtained a license from the Financial Services Commission of South Korea permitting the firm to conduct asset management in the country, according to a firm statement. The firm applied for the license in August and received a preliminary approval in November, but did not receive the actual license until this week.
This will be the first time LaSalle has been given access to Korean institutional investors, according to JB Park, LaSalle’s regional director for Korea. LaSalle is now allowed to market their funds to these investors and also approach them for deals and co-investments, he added.
“Korean institutional investors are one of the rising forces in acquiring real estate assets globally to diversify their portfolio,” Park told PERE. Although there are no official estimates, some sources estimate that Korean investors have around $1 trillion in assets, 3 to 5 percent of which they can potentially commit to real estate.
According to LaSalle’s most recent estimate, Korea constitutes only 7 percent of LaSalle’s $7.5 billion assets under management in the Asia-Pacific region. Park is hopeful that this new license will allow the firm to increase its exposure to the real estate market in the country more rapidly.
The Korean real estate market is quite small compared to the amount of capital that Korean institutional investors need to deploy. Thus, many institutional investors in Korea will seek to deploy a significant amount of their real estate capital in other markets.
“The main purpose of this license is to provide attractive investment opportunities for them by utilizing our global franchise,” Park explained.
While Korean institutional investors might be interested in a small amount of exposure to developing countries, Park said that LaSalle will only be able to introduce them to investments, particularly core and core plus, where the firm has offices – which in Asia include the countries of Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Australia, and Japan.
With $47.7 billion assets under management globally, LaSalle has raised five funds dedicated to Asia – the first of which is fully realised – and is currently raising a sixth, LaSalle Asia Opportunity Fund IV. Launched last year, it is targeting $700 million.