Singaporean property giant City Developments Limited (CDL) has appointed former AXA Investment Managers executive Frank Khoo as group chief investment officer to drive the company’s new real estate fund management business.
Khoo will assist the group CEO, Sherman Kwek, in sourcing and executing new investment opportunities while setting up a dedicated fund management platform, according to an announcement by the Singapore-listed firm.
The CIO role has been unoccupied since Kwek relinquished the title to become deputy CEO in April 2016, after serving as CIO for two years.
Khoo, who was previously global head for Asia at AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets from 2008 to 2017, brings over 20 years of cross-border private equity, fund management, and real estate investment experience to the role. His track record across Asia and Europe includes key overseas target markets for CDL such as Australia and Japan.
CDL To Roll Out More Investment Platforms
The investment veteran “has an outstanding proven track record of capital allocation and CDL will undoubtedly benefit from his deep experience and keen foresight,” Kwek commented in the statement.
The new hire will accelerate CDL’s efforts to develop a fund management business that is intended to provide strong recurring income streams while achieving more efficient capital deployment. The company has moved in that direction in recent years by forming investment platforms called Profit Participation Securities (PPS), whereby investors can buy into present and future cash flows of stabilised CDL assets, including commercial and residential developments.
To build on those one-off, closed-ended fund structures, CDL is now considering setting up new co-mingled funds or joint ventures, acquiring existing fund management platforms, and managing third-party capital.
“With Frank’s in-depth knowledge in funds creation and management coupled with his strong network of institutional investors, he will be instrumental in growing this business and eventually establishing CDL as one of the world’s leading asset managers,” Kwek said.
Property Giant Welcomes Private Equity Veteran
In his previous job at AXA IM – Real Assets, Khoo oversaw all real estate activities for the firm in Asia and built the regional business from the ground up, ultimately achieving S$10 billion in total assets under management for the group’s Asian clients. Prior to joining AXA, Khoo worked in senior roles at Pacific Star Fund Management, Guthrie GTS, Phileo Land and Kestral Capital Partners.
CDL, the flagship company of Hong Leong Group, is one of Singapore’s largest commercial landlords and the biggest residential builder in the city-state. The company chaired by Kwek Leng Beng has a global portfolio of 18 million square feet (1.67 million square metres) of space and has built more than 40,000 homes.
Sherman Kwek officially took over as chief executive of CDL at the start of this year, succeeding Grant Kelley, after serving as CEO-designate since last August.