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Savills IM continues APAC expansion with Australian hire

The former head of real estate for Asia Pacific at Mercer has joined the firm as a director in its Sydney office.

Savills Investment Management (IM), the real estate investment management business of the London-listed property services firm Savills, has continued its expansion into Asia Pacific with the hire of Jennifer Johnstone-Kaiser.

Johnstone-Kaiser, the former head of real estate, Asia Pacific, at Mercer has joined the firm as a director in its Sydney office and will be responsible for driving Savills IM's growth in Australia.

During her time at Mercer, Johnstone-Kaiser, advised a number of major Australian and Asian pension funds, including Australian Corporate and Government Super Funds, Korea National Pension Service, and Hospitality Authority of Hong Kong on domestic and global investment strategies, portfolio construction, implementation, due diligence and portfolio monitoring.

“Jennifer's experience and depth of knowledge in Australia's real estate investment market and her relationships with institutional and wealth management investors will be invaluable to the growth of Savills IM's business in the Asia Pacific region as we witness a growing appetite among these segments of investors for international real estate,” commented Michael Flynn, chief executive, Asia Pacific at Savills IM.

The appointment comes a week after Savills IM made changes to its leadership structure and named two regional heads. Flynn was named chief executive in Asia Pacific, while James Bury, formerly chief operating officer at the firm, became chief executive for Europe. Both will report to Justin O'Connor, global chief executive for Savills IM.

The firm, which currently manages approximately €18 billion of assets, has been in growth mode following its capture last year of SEB Asset Management, the property investment management business of Nordic corporate bank SEB Group.

In addition to essentially doubling its asset base via the takeover Savills IM's Asia infrastructure was significantly boosted with a team now extending to 25 staff, as well as offices in Singapore and Hong Kong to add to its existing office in Tokyo.

It is understood that the next stage for the firm in Asia is to open an office in Shanghai and hire a team able to invest in the market.