UBS hires Asia vet Johnson for senior role

Richard Johnson, who quit as CEO of Standard Chartered Asia Real Estate Fund in August after the bank parted ways with joint venture partner Istithmar, has joined Swiss bank UBS.

UBS Global Asset Management, the division of Swiss bank UBS responsible for real estate investing and management, has hired Richard Johnson to head its Asia Pacific business development function.

The 24-year industry veteran replaces Andreas Mondovits who has relocated to the bank’s Switzerland headquarters for a global business development role. Reporting to Mondovits, Johnson will be responsible for growing its client list and marketing its investment vehicles in the region.

Johnson was also a former director at Jones Lang LaSalle, the global property services firm, where he worked from offices in China, Singapore and London.

Johnson has been advising real estate investment firms on an external advisory basis since he quit Standard Chartered Bank last August. He led a joint venture between the bank and Dubai World-owned investment firm Istithmar but when the latter ran into financing issues amid last year’s Dubai economic crisis, it pulled out of the venture.

Formerly an employee of Istithmar, Johnson found himself on the books of Standard Chartered after the joint venture was dissolved. Their fund, the Standard Chartered-Istithmar Asia Real Estate Opportunity Fund 1, which aimed to raise up to $2 billion from investors when launched in 2006, subsequently became the Standard Chartered Asia Real Estate Fund, but has not corralled large amounts of equity.

UBS Asset Management is one the largest managers of real estate in the world. It manages vehicles deploying strategies from core to opportunistic both in direct and indirect real estate investments. These include open and closed-ended funds as well as fund of funds.