Paris-based investment group La Francaise will open a Singapore office at Frasers Tower in Tanjong Pagar, becoming the latest global fund manager to establish a beachhead in the Southeast Asian powerhouse.
Singapore is just the third Asia Pacific market for La Francaise, which has €55 billion ($56 billion) in assets under management. The firm opened its first Asian office in Seoul in 2016 and also distributes funds managed by JK Capital Management in Hong Kong.
The Singapore office will be located together with Credit Industriel et Commercial’s branch in Frasers Tower at 182 Cecil Street. Philippe Lecomte, chief executive of La Francaise AM Finance Services, said the office will spearhead the firm’s growth in Asia Pacific.
“As a leader in the European office real estate space, we recognise the importance of a strong presence in Asia Pacific,” Lecomte said Tuesday in a release. “International business development is all about creating proximity. Our aim is to assist Asian investors in the geographic diversification of their real estate portfolios. This is an important milestone in our business development strategy, and we are thrilled to take this new step in Singapore.”
Guiding Asian Investors
Founded in 1975, La Francaise has carved out a niche helping Asian institutions invest in the European real estate market, with more than €3 billion in transactions executed to date. The firm manages €2.3 billion of AUM on behalf of Asian investors, mainly in real estate.
La Francaise is a subsidiary of Caisse Federale de Credit Mutuel Nord Europe, a French banking and insurance group.
“This new development is a perfect illustration of the synergies we aim to achieve as members of Credit Mutuel Alliance Federale,” said Julia Tan, chief executive of Credit Industriel et Commercial in Asia Pacific. “We look forward to welcoming our colleagues from La Francaise in Singapore.”
La Francaise’s announcement came a week after Canada’s Alberta Investment Management Corporation, known as Aimco, revealed that it was looking at Singapore rather than Hong Kong for its first office in Asia. The $129 billion investment manager plans to increase its allocation to Asia-based investments and needs staff on the ground, an executive told Bloomberg.
Also this month, sources told DealStreetAsia that Harvard University’s endowment fund was opening a Singapore office to expand its portfolio in the region. In June, Bloomberg reported that BlackRock was in discussions to double its floor space in Singapore, including with the addition of some relocated Hong Kong staff.
Regional Power Player
Singapore is already home to the top two fund managers by Asia Pacific real estate AUM, according to data compiled by the Asian Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles and its global affiliates.
ANREV disclosed in May that Singapore-based GLP had seized the top spot among real estate fund managers in Asia Pacific, with the industrial specialist nearly doubling its APAC AUM to $80.5 billion in 2021. Home-grown property giant CapitaLand came in second with $65.5 billion.
ANREV’s director of research and professional standards, Amelie Delaunay, announced last week that she herself was joining the southward migration movement by relocating to Singapore from Hong Kong.
Delaunay, who has been with ANREV since 2013, will be opening a new office for the industry non-profit organisation, which recently held its annual conference in Singapore for the first time.