Union Investment appoints Asia RE head

  The German investment manager has poached Eric Cheah from Pacific Star Group to become its new Asia real estate head.  


Hamburg-based property investment manager Union Investment Real Estate has hired a new head of its Asia-Pacific investment management team from Singapore-based fund manager Pacific Star Group.

Eric Cheah joins Union having most recently been a senior vice president at Pacific Star, where he oversaw investment management for one of its property funds and asset management of the fund’s properties.

Other firms he has served under include international serviced residence owner-operator The Ascott Group, British accountancy firm Hudson Conway and New Zealand-based engineering and building contractor Fletcher Constructions.

Cheah replaces Union’s former head for Asia-Pacific Ulrich Dischler, who was promoted to head of international asset management in Union this January. Like his predecessor, Cheah will be based in Singapore and will report to Martin Bruehl, head of international investment management.

Cheah is only the most recent senior staff member to depart Pacific Star. In February 2011, the 10-strong Hong Kong team, under the leadership of property veteran Wilfred Wong, spun out to form investment firm Pinnacle State Group. Shortly before that, in September 2010, Pacific Star Europe, in which Pacific Star owned a controlling 51 percent stake, was wound down after principals Matthias Sturmer and Dirk Grosse-Wordemann requested to pursue other opportunities.

Pacific Star also shelved its most recent fundraising effort – Asia Fund Select, a pan-Asia multiple-risk strategy fund originally slated to attract $1 billion – shortly after its launch in 2011.

Most recently, in March 2012, Pacific Star revealed to PERE that it intends to mold itself into more of a real estate development company going forward, rather than a fund manager. Founder Jeff Tay cited the cold fundraising environment as part of the reason.

Union Investment Real Estate is part of the Union Investment Group, a European asset manager with a total of €200 billion under management. Approximately €23 billion of that is real estate globally. Union has been active in the Asia-Pacific region for seven years, and has a portfolio of 15 properties across Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore totalling €700 million.