ASIA NEWS: Taking center stage

There was internal restructuring afoot within the Asian operations of property services firm CBRE’s real estate investment management business, CBRE Global Investors (GI), last month.

The Los Angeles-headquartered firm combined the funds management function of its Asia business with that of the Asia business of its strategic partnership division, CBRE Global Investment Partners (GIP).

Led in the region by Adrian Baker, GIP has steadily shifted its investment activities away from its fund of funds roots and closer to the direct investing undertaken by GI over the years. That has ultimately prompted CBRE GI to halt plans to raise value-add funds, and instead for GIP to raise a single value-add fund with a wider investment remit.

The first fund to be launched under the rejigged business was understood to have already hit the market. The value-added vehicle, the capital of which would be deployed in direct investments as well as programmatic joint ventures, is expected to attract between $500 million and $750 million in equity.

Both the CBRE GI and GIP brands will remain in the region. However, on the funds front, CBRE GI’s direct team will now work closely with CBRE GIP’s team on deals for the fund. CBRE GI also runs various separate accounts in the region, including a large account with Middle East sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The operational restructuring sees GIP’s operations effectively take center stage. In terms of assets, the platform is already considerably larger than GI’s, with approximately $5 billion of assets under management versus GI’s $2 billion of assets.

Recently, it has taken on arguably higher profile transactions too, such as an investment in the LOGOS China Logistics Club, a logistics investment club focused on China, and the Trophy Property Development Fund, a China development vehicle in which it acquired secondary units.

GIP’s approximately 10-strong Asia team is based in Singapore, while GI’s approximately 60-strong team is based in Hong Kong and still reports to chief executive officer Richard Price.

Price will now oversee more capital raising responsibilities after Eduard Wehry, GI’s head of investor services for Asia, left the firm to join rival Pramerica Real Estate Investors, the real estate investment management business of US financial services firm Prudential Financial, as its head of business development for Asia Pacific. Wehry’s move, however, was not thought to be directly related to GI’s operational restructuring.
Both CBRE GI and GIP declined to comment.