Link REIT’s co-CIO to rejoin Manulife IM

The real estate veteran has spent just over a year at Hong Kong's Link REIT, having previously served as Asia CIO for Manulife IM Real Estate.

A co-chief investment officer of Hong Kong-based Link Real Estate Investment Trust is returning to Manulife IM Real Estate after just over a year in the role, PERE understands.

Kenny Lam, who joined Link REIT as chief investment officer for strategic investment in June 2022, will leave the firm at the end of September, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter. Lam will rejoin Manulife IM Real Estate to lead its third-party capital management activities in Asia-Pacific, having previously spent more than four years at the insurer, including most recently as senior managing director, Asia CIO and head of Asia transactions, according to two of the three sources.

A Link spokesperson confirmed Lam’s resignation. Upon Lam’s departure, Link’s chief executive officer George Hongchoy will assume the interim leadership role within the strategic investment team; Lam is working closely with the team on the handover, the spokesperson told PERE.

“We are appreciative for Lam’s efforts in strengthening the team, which will continuously play a part in the implementation of Link’s new growth strategy Link 3.0,” the spokesperson said. “Link has a team standing ready for its next growth journey. The comings and goings of individual employees will not affect our strategic development. We wish Lam the best of success in all future endeavors.”

Manulife IM Real Estate had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Working alongside fellow co-CIO Christine Chan, Lam was responsible for building out Link REIT’s fund management business and leading its diversification efforts. Before that, the real estate veteran had led Manulife IM Real Estate’s investment activities in Asia-Pacific. Under his leadership, the Canadian insurer expanded its presence in Vietnam with the joint acquisition of a logistics asset alongside LOGOS and by committing to GLP’s $1.1 billion maiden Vietnam Logistics Development Fund.

Prior to joining Manulife IM Real Estate, Lam was the chief manager of global real estate direct investment at Hong Kong’s sovereign wealth fund, Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Before that, he held senior roles at Ping An Real Estate and JPMorgan Asset Management.

Lam’s return to Manulife IM Real Estate comes as the insurer seeks to rapidly expand its third-party capital management business globally. Marc Feliciano, global head of real estate private markets division, told PERE last year that it is looking to prioritize expansion in North America and Asia.

The insurer had historically invested in Asia-focused core and core-plus real estate strategies via its balance sheet prior to its acquisition of a significant minority equity position in Asia private equity real estate manager ARCH Capital in February 2022. With that deal, Manulife IM Real Estate sought to expand its investment capability into opportunistic, value-add and build-to-core products.

“I would hope to see double-digit percentage growth in terms of the combined real estate AUM in the next few years,” Myron Zhu, head of Asia private markets at Manulife Investment, told PERE at the time.