After losing its chief executive to a senior role with the Singapore government, the manager of SGX-listed Frasers Hospitality Trust has chosen Eu Chin Fen as its new leader, adding to the roster of female bosses heading REITs listed in the city.
Eu took over the trust’s top spot on 10 April after Colin Low served out his last day as chief executive of the twin firms managing the S$2.25 billion ($1.67 billion) trust. Low will become the head of the Singapore Land Authority on 1 September.
The chief executive position is a familiar one for the graduate of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, who had held the same title from when FHT was listed in 2014 until 2019. Eu turned over the chair to Low less than two years ago to take on her most recent position as chief investment officer of Frasers Hospitality International Pte, the hotel and serviced residence division of Frasers Property, which sponsors the listed trust.
“Chin Fen has an intimate understanding of FHT,” said Law Song Keng, who chairs the trust’s managers. “She was instrumental in growing FHT’s initial portfolio of S$1.67 billion to S$2.40 billion, before relinquishing her role in June 2019.”
The appointment makes FHT the only REIT among four listed trusts sponsored by Frasers to be led by a female chief executive, in a city where women are taking the top role at a growing number of SGX-listed property trusts.
With shares in FHT, which manages 15 hotel and serviced apartment assets across nine cities in Asia, Australia and Europe, continuing to trade at a more than 22 percent discount to their pre-pandemic levels, Frasers is looking for Eu to lend an experienced hand as it anticipates an end to its recent challenges.
“Her familiarity with FHT and in-depth knowledge of the real estate investment trust sector will provide stability to FHT, as it navigates through the pandemic,” Law noted.
Eu has been with Frasers Property Group since 2011, after previously serving as senior vice president of the asset-backed securitisation team at Singapore financial titan DBS Bank Ltd, where she was responsible for origination and listing of REITs and business trusts in the city.
FHT’s assets include nine hotels spread across Europe and Asia Pacific, including the Novotel Melbourne on Collins, Novotel Sydney Darling Square and the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth in Australia. In Europe the trust owns Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road, Park International London and the Maritim Hotel Dresden.
Closer to home base, the REIT’s hotels include the InterContinental Singapore, the ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe and The Westin Kuala Lumpur.
The trust’s six serviced residences include Frasers Suites properties in Sydney, Singapore, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, as well as Fraser Place on Canary Wharf. Together the trust’s assets amount to 3,913 rooms.
With Eu retaking the top spot at FHT, Singapore now has female leadership for at least six SGX-listed real estate investment trusts, including entities sponsored by the city’s largest property groups, such as Mapletree Investments, Keppel Corporation and CapitaLand.
Among Keppel’s listed trusts, Anthea Lee was named chief executive of the manager of Keppel DC REIT in February, part of a group where Christina Tan presides over Keppel Capital, which oversees the managers of Keppel REIT, and other listed trusts sponsored by the group.
Mapletree, which like Keppel is controlled by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, has Sharon Lim serving as chief executive of the manager of Mapletree Commercial Trust, and another female executive, Ng Kiat, leads the manager for Mapletree Logistics Trust.
At CapitaLand, which is the largest of Temasek’s property groups, Siew Kim Beh serves as chief executive of the manager of Ascott Residence Trust, while SGX-listed SPH REIT and Manulife US REIT also have female CEOs.