RREEF’s Asia CFO and client services head resign

PERE understands that neither the roles of chief financial officer Alex So nor head of client services Jeremy Hall will be replaced as the Deutsche Bank platform seeks to localise its headcount in the region.

Two senior figures of the Asia team at RREEF, the real estate investment management business of Deutsche Bank’s, have departed, PERE has learned.

Alex So, RREEF’s Asia chief financial officer, and Jeremy Hall, its head of client services, are understood to have resigned from their posts. It also is understood that neither post will be filled going forward as RREEF seeks to employ more local professionals in the region. Both worked from the firm's Hong Kong office.

RREEF declined to comment about the departures. However, in an interview with PERE in September for a feature focused on recruitment in the sector, Niel Thassim, who heads RREEF in Asia, said: “It is clear cross the entire industry – and has been proven consistently over the years – that teams with local professionals consistently have outperformed those with a ‘fly-in/fly-out’ approach to investing.”

Thassim also said: “I would certainly challenge the presumption that expatriates are any more technically skilled at transacting and underwriting risk in a local Asian market as compared to a local real estate professional who has been doing it his or her entire career.” To read the feature, click here.

In 2010, RREEF came under fire from various market observers on the back of various senior departures, although the firm has since said that last year saw it raise more than $3 billion in Asian client capital and transact on more than $1 billion of deals in the region. This year, the firm said it has raised almost $1 billion from Asian clients and completed more than $700 million of transactions.

RREEF, which manages almost $60 billion of assets globally, has been vocal about being “overweight Asia” when seeking to deploy resources going forward. Its chief investment officer, Kurt Roeloffs, told PERE this summer that it regarded the US as ideal for a “neutral weighting” and Europe as befitting an “underweight” strategy. He said: “In terms of the general amount of investing you do going forward, spend a little less in Europe than you would in the US, where you should have more of a neutral weighting, and overweight Asia as you continue to build your portfolio.”