Two key members of Aberdeen Standard Investment’s leadership team in Asia have left the company in the past two months, following an expansion of the asset manager’s footprint in the region over the past two years.
An company spokesperson confirmed to Mingtiandi that ASI’s former head of real estate in Asia Pacific and global head of the real estate multi-manager team, Puay Ju Kang, completed her notice period in March, while former managing director and head of Hong Kong, David Lam, departed earlier this month.
The departures, which were first reported by finance industry publication Asian Investor, come just over a year after ASI beefed up its presence in the region through its acquisition of Hong Kong-based Orion Partners for an undisclosed amount, a deal which added $900 million of direct real estate investments in Asia to the UK asset manager’s global business.
“Our growth plans for Asia direct real estate continue as planned; we are committed to progressing new opportunities in the Asia Pacific region,” ASI told Mingtiandi.
The ASI representative said that, as the asset management arm of London-listed Standard Life Aberdeen, the company has a “well-established institutional framework for running the business” underpinned by the knowledge and experience in both its global real estate multi-manager and direct Asia Pacific real estate teams.
ASI added that the departures were not related to the coronavirus pandemic and the company continues on its present course.
Absorbing Leadership Responsibilities
ASI confirmed to Mingtiandi that Kang, who had helped lead the company’s Singapore operation for nearly 14 years, informed the company “in the fourth quarter of last year that she had decided to take a break from the industry to spend more time with her family”.
Following her departure, London-based Mark Wilkins will step up to global head of the real estate multi-manager team, after eight years as head of ASI’s Europe real estate multi-manager division.
John Lee, who is one of the founders of Orion Partners, will assume the rest of Kang’s responsibilities in his existing role as head of Asia Pacific direct real estate.
Kang had had held the top property position with ASI in the region since 2017 — the same year that Standard Life completed its £11 billion ($13.7 billion) merger with Aberdeen Asset Management — with the Oxford University graduate having first joined Aberdeen in 2006. Prior to joining the Scottish wealth manager, Kang had spent over six years with Singapore’s GIC and more than one year with Dutch pension fund manager APG.
Remaining Committed to Hong Kong
ASI said that Lam’s management responsibilities as head of Hong Kong have been assumed by ASI’s Singapore-based deputy head of Asia Pacific, Ian Macdonald.
Lam had been appointed in August 2018, after holding senior positions in Hong Kong with family office Carret Private and UK private bank Coutts.
Despite Lam’s departure comes as Hong Kong continues to contend with the fallout of both the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s anti-government protests, however, ASI took the occasion to underscore its confidence in the Asian financial hub.
“ASI remains committed to growing our business in Hong Kong and driving successful investment outcomes for our clients”, an ASI spokesperson said, adding that the company has more than 600 staff based in ten offices across Asia Pacific.