The Asian division of UK-based M&G Real Estate has added to its acquisitions team with the hiring of two experienced investment managers.
The firm on Wednesday announced the appointments of Jan Low as head of acquisitions for Asia and Jody Neale as associate director of acquisitions for Japan. The reinforcements follow the February promotion of Lai Jing Dong to chief investment officer and interim CEO for Asia.
Low will be based in Singapore and report to Lai, while Tokyo-based Neale is responsible to Seiko Ikeda, director of acquisitions for Japan.
“The appointments reflect our ambition to expand our operations and services in the Asia region as well as capturing the growing opportunities for strategic acquisitions as the region looks ahead to pandemic recovery,” Lai said in a release. “Jan and Jody’s in-depth knowledge and wealth of experience in real estate investing will further strengthen M&G’s capabilities in sourcing and executing innovative transactions in Asia.”
Low most recently served as head of principal finance for Asia at Australia’s Macquarie Bank. Before that appointment, he had run his own real estate investment management firm. His other previous roles include senior positions at Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, where he executed and closed on numerous principal transactions across Asia Pacific.
Low graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in operations research and economics.
“I am honoured to join M&G Real Estate’s growing Asia team,” he said, “and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to deepen our presence in the region as well as capture the exciting investment opportunities the region presents.”
Neale joins M&G from Tokyo-based alternative asset advisory Conray, where he was a partner. His prior experience includes two years as a senior asset manager at Goldman Sachs in Tokyo and eight years as a director at Deutsche Bank Securities in Tokyo.
Fluent in Japanese and English, the University of Hull grad has a track record in real estate, distressed loan portfolios, renewable energy and secured lending across various investment platforms in Japan.
“It’s an exciting time to be joining the M&G team in Japan and I am delighted to assume this new role,” Neale said. “With my 15 years of experience in real estate investment, I look forward to contributing to M&G’s continued growth in Japan and the wider region.”
Rounding Into Form
Low and Neale will join a team headed up by Lai, who leads M&G’s real estate business and acquisition activities in Asia, including Australia.
Lai joined the firm in 2016 as head of acquisitions for Asia, taking on an additional role as head of M&G Real Estate Japan in 2019. He reports to M&G Real Estate’s global boss, Tony Brown.
In his acquisitions role, Lai has overseen 15 transactions amounting to $2.9 billion in assets under management on behalf of M&G Asia Property Fund, the oldest and largest open-ended core fund in APAC.
In the months since Lai’s promotion, M&G has made a couple of acquisitions on behalf of the fund: a quarter-stake in warehouse developer ESR’s largest building under operation in the Tokyo area for $217 million, and two residential buildings in Osaka for $50 million.