PREI closes Beijing office in China restructure

Almost 10 staff including China head Jason Chew are to leave as the real estate investment management arm of US financial services giant Prudential Financial looks to coordinate its China investment strategy from Hong Kong.

Pramerica Real Estate Investors (PREI), the real estate investment management arm of US financial services giant Prudential Financial, is to close its Beijing office as it restructures its China investment strategy, PERE has learned.

The firm’s Asia business has undergone recent leadership change with head Morgan Laughlin joining from London-based Grosvenor Fund Management in March. He took over from Victoria Sharpe, who was promoted to an investor-facing role within PREI’s parent company Pramerica Investment Management.

The closure of PREI’s Beijing office, expected to happen at the end of this month, is one of the first tangible events to have happened on Laughin’s watch. It will see almost 10 staff leaving, including managing director and head of Greater China Jason Chew who was placed in charge of the office in 2010. Following the closure, PREI’s China investment strategy will be coordinated from its Hong Kong office.

The closure also is part of a wider strategy by PREI to have centralised leadership at its regional headquarters. To that end the firm has hired Eryck Su as chief investment officer for Asia Pacific and he will be based in Hong Kong. 

Su has worked for Laughlin at other companies including at Grosvenor Fund Management where he was a managing director and head of Greater China and, before that, at Deutsche Bank where he worked on real estate investments Asia ex-Japan and Korea, joining via its merger with Bankers Trust.

At Grosvenor, Laughlin and Su played an important part in establishing Harvest Real Estate Investments, a China-focused joint venture real estate investment company with Beijing-based Harvest Fund Management, the asset management group. 

As at 31 March, PREI employed 88 staff across its Asia offices and, as at 31 December, the firm managed assets valued on a net basis at $4.7 billion in the region. It managed $36 billion of assets globally.

PREI declined to comment.