The manager of Frasers Centrepoint Trust has chosen a new boss for the retail focused REIT, a move which may strengthen a bridge between the empire of Thai-Chinese tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and one of its recent acquisition targets.
Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management Ltd announced to the Singapore exchange on April 12th that former PGIM executive Richard Ng is next in line to run Frasers Centrepoint Trust, taking the position of CEO designate of the REIT’s manager as of April 15th..
Ng’s appointment comes just a few weeks after Khun Charoen’s Frasers Property Group finished spending S$1.33 billion ($983 million) to build a 67 percent interest in a PGIM Southeast Asia retail fund which the property executive had managed during his tenure with the unit of American financial giant Prudential.
Retail Trust Veteran Moves Up at Frasers
“Richard is a veteran with 27 years of experience in the real estate industry with substantial focus on Singapore retail properties,” Dr Cheong Choong Kong, Chairman of Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management said in a statement. “We look forward to his leadership as FCT continues on its next phase of growth.”
Ng had joined Frasers Group in April 2018 as an Executive Vice President and Head of Asset Management with Fraser’s Property, the group’s primary Singapore-listed unit.
In a separate filing, Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management indicated that, within the past five years, Ng has been a director of six privately held real estate entities, ARMF (Singapore) Pte Ltd, AsiaMalls Management Pte Ltd, ARMF (Whitesands) Pte Ltd, AsiaRetail (Singapore) Pte Ltd, AsiaRetail II (Singapore) Pte Ltd and AsiaRetail III (Singapore) Pte Ltd. According to a statement from the company, the executive is no longer a director of these companies.
AsiaMalls Management Pte Ltd is the property manager for a chain of Singaporean retail malls held by PGIM Real Estate Asia Retail Fund Limited, the investment vehicle which Frasers Group agreed to take control of through a series of share purchases in February and March of this year.
Ng is replacing outgoing Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management CEO Dr Chew Tuan Chiong who is retiring, but will assume the role of Advisor to Frasers Property following his departure from executive duties.
Mall Portfolios Come into Alignment
Frasers Group acquired its stake in PGIM Real Estate Asia Retail Fund Ltd in a number of share purchases since mid-February. With Ng set to take over the top role at Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management, speculation that Frasers Group will make changes to increase its potential return from the PGIM fund is already on the rise.
Analysts have already been discussing the potential for Frasers to appoint a new manager for PGIM Real Estate Asia Retail Fund Limited.
With the PGIM fund’s set of five suburban Singapore malls roughly aligned with the six similarly-positioned properties in the portfolio of Frasers Centrepoint Trust, there may also be opportunities for the PGIM assets to be acquired by the Frasers trust or other units of the property empire held by Charoen.
Apart from his experience at PGIM, which was formerly known as Pramerica, Ng also previously spent 14 years with CapitaLand Group, where he was part of the team that launched the Singaporean giant’s CapitaMall Trust (now CapitaLand Mall Trust) in 2002.
Note: an earlier version indicated that Richard Ng was listed as currently being a director of ARMF (Singapore) Pte Ltd, AsiaMalls Management Pte Ltd, ARMF (Whitesands) Pte Ltd, AsiaRetail (Singapore) Pte Ltd, AsiaRetail II (Singapore) Pte Ltd and AsiaRetail III (Singapore) Pte Ltd. It has now been clarified that the original documentation showed Ng’s directorships within the past five years, and the article has been updated accordingly.