Townsend’s raid of ING Select continues with Smith hire

The Cleveland-based advisory and investment management group has followed up the hires of Nick Cooper and Nicholas Wong with the appointment of ING Real Estate Select’s CIO Damien Smith.

The Townsend Group’s raid of senior executives at ING Real Estate Select, the multi-manager business of ING Real Estate Investment Management has continued with the appointment of its chief investment officer in Europe, Damien Smith, as principal.

Smith’s appointment is the third senior hire from ING Select this year following moves for Nick Cooper, the head of platform, and Nicholas Wong, its head of Asia.

In an announcement by Townsend, the firm said Smith would focus on portfolio management and investment underwriting in Europe. Cooper said: “Townsend continues to see a trend of large institutional investors attempting to access real estate investment opportunities around the globe.  We believe we are in a unique position to access proprietary and diverse deal flow that, with Damien’s help, will add value to our clients’ portfolios.”

Smith said: “We have seen an enormous amount of uncertainty over the past two years and we are approaching the start of the next cycle.  This is the time for institutional investors to enter the real estate investment markets, but one that requires experience, a global perspective and broad resources.  Townsend’s global scale, access to and ability to create unique investment opportunities will provide out clients an advantage when executing their real estate investment strategies.”

As well as his time at ING, Smith also previously worked for Australian real estate companies Lend Lease and Macquarie Goodman.

Townsend Group currently advises on more than $100 billion in real estate investments around the world on both discretionary and non-discretionary mandates. Its clients include US corporate and public pension schemes as well as sovereign wealth funds, endowments, foundations and high net worth investors.