ASIA NEWS: MSREI executive shuffle

The beginning of April saw more reshuffling in the senior ranks of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing’s (MSREI) Asia platform. 

The firm’s head of Japan, Toru Bando, was promoted to become the head of Asia, replacing Hoke Slaughter, who is expected to relocate to the US.

Bando, who will take over in June, only became the head of acquisitions for Asia just over six months ago in September, when a series of hierarchical changes were made to MSREI’s Asia team to ensure more leadership and management responsibilities at the country-level, instead of its more regional operational strategy earlier.

In an email to PERE, Bando said that his focus as the regional head, will “continue to be on maximizing returns on existing investments through proactive asset management and partner management, and to invest wisely across the firm’s major markets in Asia.”

A seasoned investor, Bando has been with MSREI for more than 15 years, and has spent several years working in the firm’s Japan team. 

A copy of an internal memo obtained by PERE read: “Since joining the firm in 1999, Toru has steadily advanced through the REI ranks, becoming head of Japan in 2011 and head of acquisitions earlier this year. One of MSREI’s most experienced investors, Toru has proven himself as a leader and is ready to take over from Hoke in what has been a carefully planned transition.”

One industry source in Japan said that Bando has a strong reputation among his peers in the Japanese real estate market. “Morgan Stanley was among the leading investors in Japan before the global financial crisis. When things came crashing down after the crisis and [many in] the senior leadership left, Bando pulled it all back together,” he said.

He further added that it was good to see “someone from Japan coming into an APAC role because usually it is the opposite.” Another industry source has suggested that Bando was ‘groomed for the role’, given a long-held understanding that Slaughter “was never going to be spending 25 years of his career in Asia.” 

Slaughter will now be working on “special projects”, and focus on growing the firm’s international core business, said a person familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, there were two other senior executive departures from the firm in early March as well. Noah Wangh, an executive director responsible for investments in Hong Kong and Vietnam, is understood to have left amid the firm’s relative inactivity in the Hong Kong market, while Denise Lau, a managing director responsible for working with the bank’s Chinese institutional clients, left for personal reasons.