Lazard, the New York-listed investment bank, has hired its first dedicated real estate personnel in Asia amid a broader push to increase its fundraising capability in the region.
The firm has appointed Joyce Lo, former director at Hong Kong-based real estate fund manager LimeTree Capital Partners, to lead the team’s real estate fundraising activities in Asia. She will be based at the bank’s Asia office in Singapore.
Lo has had almost 10 years of real estate experience in her 20-year career in the financial services industry. She began working at US investment bank Lehman Brothers, where she spent 11 years. She then held senior positions at real estate investment firms Sniper Capital, Palmer Capital Asia and Pramerica Real Estate Investors.
Lo will be responsible for building relationships with Asian investors and promoting the bank’s fundraising mandates throughout the US and Europe.
Lazard currently has one real estate mandate in Asia. However, James Jacobs, managing director and global head of real estate within the bank’s private capital advisory team, told PERE that he hopes to leverage the firm’s outstanding relationships in real estate markets and find interesting opportunities for more Asia-domiciled managers.
However, Lo’s appointment comes at a time of growing appetite for the private capital advisory team’s services from Asian investors looking to invest in real estate in other regions. Around $1.3 billion, or 6 percent, of the $22 billion the team has raised for European and US mandates since 2007 has come from Asia-domiciled investors. According to Jacobs, that $1.3 billion was only raised in the last couple of years, with the majority coming from European and North American investors.
“We have been looking to develop our Asian real estate capability for a number of years now and this represents an evolution of our business,” he said. “If you look at the market globally, Asia is making up a larger and growing proportion of capital raised, which is why it is so exciting to have a real estate specialist come on board.”
Led by Nick Miles, head of European and Asia Pacific equity, Lazard’s private capital advisory business started out in the region six year ago by building its capability in private equity. The private capital advisory team currently has nine professionals in Asia.
To cope with the growing demand from investors, Jacobs said it was important to have someone on the ground to understand the needs of these investors in addition to the staff it has working on private equity mandates. “If you look at the Australian, the Korean and then the Japanese investors, they are all interested in different things within real estate,” he said.