The UK’s Intermediate Capital Group is expanding its private real estate fund business to Asia Pacific and has hired four former ARA Asset Management executives to lead the initiative as Western investment institutions continue to expand their footprint in the region’s property market.
Based in Singapore and Sydney, the new hires are led by David Kim, formerly CEO of private funds at ARA, and Stephen Tang, who was head of value-add and opportunistic real estate at the unit of logistics giant ESR. In their new roles, Kim and Tang will serve as managing directors and co-heads of real estate for Asia Pacific, LSE-listed ICG said in a release.
Also signing up for the ICG expansion are Rohan Neville, who headed ARA’s investments and asset management in Australia, and Isaac Leo, who was a manager in the private funds unit. They join the company as a director and a principal, respectively, with the newly launched team focusing on mid-to-upper-market transactions, corporate-led deals and special situations.
“We are delighted to welcome David, Stephen, Rohan and Isaac to ICG,” said global head of real estate Krysto Nikolic. “The team has an excellent track record of investing and business building in Asia Pacific and we are excited about the opportunity for growth in the region as we continue to build the capabilities of ICG real estate in line with our global ambitions across the wider firm.”
Before joining ARA, Kim was a managing director and chief operating officer of Blackstone Asia in Hong Kong, where he was responsible for portfolio management. From 2000 to 2010, he was a managing director and chief operating officer in the real estate principal investments group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he oversaw the launch of the $2.65 billion pan-Asian opportunity fund.
“ICG has a long-standing reputation for delivering excellent investment performance as well as high standards of service to its clients,” Kim said. “I am delighted to be joining the team and to help build further on the firm’s global footprint.”
At ARA, Tang was the lead portfolio manager for the flagship Asia Real Estate Partners Fund series. Previously he worked in the private equity real estate divisions of JP Morgan Asset Management and Morgan Stanley, where he focused on leading APAC opportunistic strategies.
“Asia Pacific represents one of the largest growth markets in the world and I look forward to contributing to ICG’s global ambitions as we expand our investment activities in the region,” Tang said.
ICG’s real estate business has more than $7 billion in assets under management across private debt and private equity investments.
The asset manager signalled a commitment to extending its property reach with the January hiring of Nikolic, the former head of European real estate at Starwood Capital Group and an ex-partner at private equity giant TPG. Nikolic has led real estate investments in excess of $14 billion, ICG said.
ICG’s Asian push mirrors that of Swedish fund manager EQT, which has moved assertively into the region this year with acquisitions of Japanese logistics investment manager Bear Logi and Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia, the latter obtained in a €6.8 billion ($7.5 billion) cash-and-stock deal.
EQT’s purchase of a regional private equity player followed similar efforts by other Western giants like Canada’s Manulife, which in February announced plans to purchase a significant minority stake in Hong Kong-based Arch Capital Management, and British investment manager Schroders, which took a similar route in buying a majority stake in Hong Kong’s Pamfleet in 2020.