Gillian Chee departs real estate manager AEW Capital’s Asia Pacific team

Gillian Chee

Less than four months after joining the Asia Pacific team of US-based real estate investment manager AEW Capital as a senior fund manager, Gillian Chee has departed the firm.

When contacted, an AEW spokesperson confirmed that “AEW and Gillian have agreed to part ways.” Chee could not be reached for comments.

Chee, a former managing director at Singapore-based SC Capital Partners, had joined AEW in May. According to industry sources, she was roped in to lead fundraising for the investment firm’s $750-million core-plus Asia-focused fund.

It is learnt that the firm is now eyeing to raise as much as $1 billion for the fund but its first close is likely to be delayed due to Chee’s departure.

Core-plus funds typically have a moderate risk/return strategy and invest in high-quality properties with a view to enhance their value through enhancements, repositioning, re-leasing or recapitalisation.

On its website, AEW says that its core-plus/value-add real estate strategy in the Asia Pacific focuses on investments in office, residential and retail properties primarily in high-growth gateway cities.

The firm had in June 2018 closed AEW Value Investors Asia III, its third value-added fund for the region, at $1.2 billion, exceeding a $750-million target. The fund focuses on the acquisition of assets in key gateway cities across the Asia Pacific, principally Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai and Sydney, as well as Beijing and Melbourne.

AEW and its affiliates manage approximately $75.91 billion of property and securities in North America, Europe and Asia as of March 31, 2019. Its assets under management (AUM) in the Asia Pacific stand at about $3.6 billion.

It is unclear where Chee is headed next. Her departure from AEW was first reported by PERE.

At SC Capital Partners, she was responsible for spearheading the firm’s inaugural core-plus open-ended vehicle (SCORE+), which was closed at $451.5 million in July 2017. Before that, she was a senior vice president with Aviva Investors in Singapore and also worked as a fund manager of the Aviva Pan-Asian real estate open-ended property fund based in the city-state.

Recently, BlackRock lost its Asia Pacific real estate investment head Greg Lapham, who will be stepping down by end of this month. He is succeeded by Hamish MacDonald who currently covers the Australian real estate market. DealStreetAsia reported that the US-based asset manager is currently fundraising for its fifth Asia-focused realty fund.

Last month, TIAA-backed Nuveen Real Estate had appointed its head of Australia Nick Evans as interim head of Asia Pacific, replacing Chris Reilly who left the global investment firm in July after several decades.