M&G appoints acquisitions director Asia – Exclusive

The real estate investment manager has appointed Jing Dong Lai as acquisitions director for Asia, filling the position left vacant after chief executive Chiang Ling Ng’s promotion earlier this year.

M&G Real Estate has appointed Jing Dong Lai as acquisitions director for Asia.

The real estate investment management business of the UK insurer Prudential has confirmed to PERE that Lai will start his role from tomorrow and will be based in the firm’s Singapore office.

Lai will be filling in the position lying vacant since July this year when Chiang Ling Ng officially started her new role as chief executive and chief investment officer for firm’s Asia operations. Ng, the firm’s former acquisition director, was promoted to the top job after Scott Girard announced his decision to step down from the leadership position in January.

Lai will be responsible for the firm’s real estate acquisition activities, including sourcing and executing market transactions across M&G’s core Asia markets in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Australia.

He brings more than 14 years of real estate markets experience in Asia. Before joining M&G Lai was the director and head of investments at Straits Real Estate Lte, a Singapore-based real estate investment firm. He has also worked in senior positions at Goldman Sachs in Japan and Carlyle Asia Real Estate Partners in Hong Kong.

A number of senior management changes have taken place at M&G since the start of this year. In September, Girard, who had initially announced his plans to relocate to Australia and remain only a senior adviser to M&G, returned to the firm as an interim fund manager for M&G’s Asia core property strategy following the departure of Erle Spratt.

Additionally, Cuong Nguyen, the firm’s head of Asia-Pacific research and strategy, moved to PGIM Real Estate in late August as its new head of investment research for the region.

M&G Real Estate Asia manages in excess of $3.8 billion worth of assets in Asia. The firm has been actively investing via its open-ended Asia core property vehicle, which is one of the largest in Asia. According to a September PERE report, M&G has $1.8 billion of equity invested via the fund and $449 million in dry powder left to deploy.

The latest acquisition made via the fund was that of a shopping mall in South Korea for $141 million in late October.