Friday, November 2, 2007

Morley sets up first Asia office

Morley sets up first Asia office

ONE of the largest property fund managers in Europe yesterday announced that it is setting up its first Asia office, in Singapore.
Morley Fund Management, which has plans to invest US$10 billion in the region over the next four years, said it has identified Singapore as key to its growth strategy.

Nick Mansley, Morley’s director of property strategy, told BT that the Singapore office will be the hub for the firm’s Asian property business. Morley, the asset management arm of UK-based Aviva plc said in a statement that it has appointed Nick Ridgewell to head its Asian property business based in Singapore. He was previously managing director of Macquarie Bank’s real estate business in Hong Kong.

‘We have strong ambitions for our property business in Asia and are confident we can replicate the rapid growth we have achieved in Europe,’ said Ian Womack, Morley’s managing director, property.

Morley’s property investment business has grown rapidly in recent years with more than US$60 billion invested in property assets in the UK and the rest of Europe. Mr Womack said that Mr Ridgewell’s expertise will be critical in supporting Morley’s strategy of leveraging on the robust expansion of Singapore’s property sector and growth in the real estate funds business.
‘Singapore will be a key growth market for Morley,’ Mr Womack said. ‘We are working on funds which will invest in Singapore.’

He said while investment in Singapore will be opportunistic, the strategy will not be deterred by the high prices here as ‘Singapore is a relatively safe market in the Asian context’.

Morley, which opened for business in Asia in April this year, will work with multiple joint venture and fund partners in Japan, China, South Korea and India to seek out developments and properties to meet its clients’ needs.

Firms within the Morley group of companies manage £pounds;168 billion (S$504 billion) as at June 30.

Morley manages both institutional and retail funds. It also acts as investment manager for a range of retail investment funds, marketed in the UK under the Norwich Union brand and in Europe under the Aviva Morley name. The property team manages in excess of £pounds;32 billion of UK and European property assets.
Source : Business Times - 02 Nov 2007

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