PGIM Real Estate, the property investment arm of US insurance giant Prudential Financial, has named company veteran David Fassbender as the fund manager’s new head of Japan, according to a release on Thursday.
Fassbender, who previously served as PGIM Real Estate’s head of Southeast Asia based in Singapore, has now been tasked with overseeing the company’s strategy and operations in Asia’s second largest economy while leading a team of over 30 professionals in the firm’s Tokyo office.
In addition to his new post, Fassbender will retain his existing role as senior portfolio manager for PGIM Real Estate’s Asia Pacific value-add strategies, which have a total transaction volume of $3.8 billion to date in the Land of the Rising Sun.
“David is well positioned to lead PGIM Real Estate’s business in Japan, having built a strong investment track record and developed deep insights into the market. The appointment reiterates our commitment to growing the Japan business, while continuingly strengthening our global data centre franchise to address client needs,” said Benett Theseira, head of Asia Pacific for PGIM Real Estate.
Newark-based PGIM Real Estate highlighted Japan as one of its key growth markets, with the fund manager having executed over 60 investments with a transaction volume of $4.5 billion since it entered the country in 2003. The company’s Japanese portfolio comprises multifamily, retail, office and hotel assets across both equity and debt.
Fassbender is taking over the country head role from Morgan Laughlin, who previously served as head of Japan, Korea, Asia Pacific real estate debt, and global data centre investments for the fund manager.
Laughlin, who will transition into an advisory role for the Japan real estate business, is set to be fully dedicated to his role as global head of data centre investments, where he will lead PGIM Real Estate’s data centre investment strategies and portfolio management. The fund manager, which began investing in data centres over a decade ago, has highlighted its commitment to expanding its footprint in the sector.
Both Fassbender and Laughlin will remain on the PGIM Real Estate’s Asia Pacific executive council and investment committee.
Following the leadership changes, Singapore-based Theseira will directly oversee PGIM Real Estate’s Southeast Asia operations, while Seoul-based Alistair Kim will take over Laughlin’s role as head of Korea. Sydney-based Steve Bulloch will assume the head of Asia Pacific real estate debt role, expanding on his existing position as head of Australia.
Having joined PGIM Real Estate (then known as Pramerica Real Estate) in its closed-end US fund business in 2002, Fassbender subsequently worked in the portfolio management team of an open-end fund, where he was responsible for North America and Asia, before joining the Asia-Pacific value-add fund team in 2007 and relocating to Singapore in 2011.
Fassbender began his career in 1997 as a banker for German lender Dresdner Bank and holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Cambridge as well as a certificate in real estate portfolio management from the European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Expanding in Asia
PGIM Real Estate, which managed and administered $8.1 billion of assets in Asia Pacific and $208 billion of assets globally as of September 2023 across core, core plus, value-add and debt strategies, has been expanding its Asia Pacific portfolio through a series of acquisitions in recent years.
Last week, the fund manager acquired a boutique hotel in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district in its third purchase of a Hong Kong hospitality asset, with the company having acquired two hotels in 2022 and converted them into residential projects – Weave Studios Kowloon West and Dash on Hollywood.
Last year, the company bolstered its Asia Pacific rental housing portfolio with acquisitions of residential assets in Shanghai, Sydney and Brisbane.
In 2022, the fund manager acquired a cold chain facility in Gwangju, South Korea through its joint venture with Singapore’s CapitaLand, and teamed up with Hong Kong-listed industrial giant ESR to develop a build-to-suit warehouse in Singapore.
In 2021, PGIM Real Estate completed $3 billion worth of deals in Asia Pacific, tripling its total investment in the previous year. Among those investments were a central Tokyo office asset and a greater Tokyo apartment portfolio.
The company is currently preparing to market its 108 Robinson Road office building on a strata-title basis.
PGIM Real Estate has been investing in Asia Pacific’s commercial real estate markets since 1994 and has 95 professionals in six locations across the region, according to the company’s website.
In September 2023, PGIM announced the formation of the PGIM Private Alternatives unit, which includes PGIM Real Estate, as well as its private equity, private credit and agriculture investment businesses.