ING Real Estate has charged its managing director for Singapore, Peter Wittendorp, with doubling assets under management in Asia to $3bn (e2.5bn) within two years.
Wittendorp, who adds the newly-created position of chief investment officer to his current role, will be responsible for all investment activities in the region as head of a nine-strong team.
The move reflects the firm’s optimism about a maturing market described by Investment Strategy Annual in January as “strongly positive”.
ING is relying on the quality of its research and local knowledge of specific Asian markets to boost its competitive position.
Robert Lie, chief executive of ING Real Estate Asia, said: “Growth in the number of products and clients brings the need for more acquisition power and co-ordination of investment activity across Asia. We have been building a strong organisation with a good local presence that is geared up for further growth in Asia.”
Wittendorp’s regional expertise predates his move to ING Real Estate. He joined from ProLogis Europe, where he headed fund operations. A Dutch national, he was previously head of European and Asian fund operations for ABP, the Dutch civil servants’ pension fund.
ING is active in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Korea. It will soon open an office in Japan.
In November the firm set up a US$800m Seoul-based operation that will allow institutional investors to co-invest in Korean real estate. ING Real Estate will have a 15% shareholding in the company, set up with a 10-year US$400m loan from ING Wholesale Banking.