Property consultancy Colliers International has brought in a new face to run its Korean operation, with the Toronto-based firm installing Robert Wilkinson as the head of its Seoul office starting this week.
Wilkinson, who has been with Colliers since 2011, took over as Managing Director of Colliers International on 1 February, replacing the company’s recently departed MD Kichoon Jung, who left the real estate services firm at the end of 2019.
In a statement, Colliers indicated that it expects the change in leadership, which comes after Seoul surpassed Hong Kong in terms of the volume of real estate investment transactions in 2019, to accelerate its growth in Asia and strengthen its existing services
Corporate Account Veteran Jumps to Senior Management
“Korea is a dynamic, growing and important market for our clients and our enterprise,” Wilkinson said in a statement. He added that, “I look forward to accelerating the success of our clients and our global and regional occupiers. By working together and supporting the global flow of capital, we have an opportunity to maximize the potential of property in this sophisticated real estate market.”
Wilkinson, who previously had been based in Hong Kong with Colliers, had served most recently as Hong Kong hub leader with the company’s corporate solutions team where he held the rank of director.
A 2007 graduate of the University of Nottingham in the UK, Wilkinson joined Colliers in Hong Kong in 2011 as an analyst with the company’s corporate solutions team, and was promoted to his most recent position in the Canadian firm’s APAC headquarters in 2017.
Korea Moves to Centre Stage
Wilkinson takes the reins in Seoul at a time when Korean investors are playing a larger role on the global stage and the country’s domestic investment market is growing in prominence.
South Korea became Asia’s largest source of cross-border real estate investment capital in 2019, according to recent figures from property data provider Real Capital Analytics. The company’s data shows that investors from the North Asian nation committed to a combined $17 billion in investments outside the region last year – an amount nearly double the country’s previous high figure set in 2017.
Domestically, Korea’s investment market has also been booming with deals such as the KRW 1 trillion ($890 million) February 2019 acquisition of the Seoul Square office building by ARA Asset Management and NH Investment & Securities helping to give the Korean capital the second-highest volume of real estate investment transactions last year, according to RCA.
Seoul ranked second in Asia behind Tokyo for the amount of money invested in income earning property assets in 2019, RCA’s figures show, as a sharp drop in Hong Kong deals pushed the protest-ridden city from first position in 2018 down to the region’s third spot last year.