It’s all change at CenterSquare Investment Management’s Asia operation, as the US real estate fund house prepares to leave the BNY Mellon group after 11 years as the latter's affiliate.

Andrew Nicholas, Singapore-based co-head of global real estate securities, has left CenterSquare, with former co-head Dean Frankel having assumed sole responsibility for the role. 

Dean Frankel

In addition, the Asia headcount is preparing to move to a new location in Singapore, as a result of the acquisition of CenterSquare from parent BNY Mellon by the former's management and private equity manager Lovell Minnick Partners.

The four-strong investment team is currently based in the BNY Mellon offices in the Lion City. AsianInvestor could not ascertain the new Singapore office location by press time.

The buyout deal was announced in September and is expected to complete on January 2, but Nicholas’s departure is understood to be unrelated to the transaction. In fact his retirement is effective in March but was only announced internally in September, said a source familiar with CenterSquare.

CenterSquare declined to comment for this story as the acquisition is still in progress.

Nicholas will not be replaced directly, and Joachim Kehr, assistant portfolio manager and pan-Asia head of investment, is now the most senior executive in Singapore. 

Joachim Kehr

Frankel remains the lead portfolio manager, said the source, and will now assume oversight of the team in Asia from CenterSquare's headquarters in Philadelphia.

Nicholas was recruited in 2013 to manage and develop the team in Asia, where he also helped with risk management, business development and the top-down research process. He did not make day-to-day investment decisions.

Before joining CenterSquare, Nicholas worked in Sydney, managing property securities at Colonial First State Global Asset Management and UBS Global Asset Management. He has also worked at Deutsche Bank and Delfin Property Group.

Nicholas did not respond to a request for comment and AsianInvestor could not ascertain if he had anything else lined up.  

CenterSquare had around $9 billion in assets under management globally as of June 30, of which $8 billion is invested in real estate investment trust (Reit) strategies. It also manages about $1.3 billion in private equity real estate portfolios and in 2015 launched a global listed infrastructure strategy, which has just $25 million so far.

Most of its clients are based in the US, but the firm sources around $550 million from Asia Pacific clients and has invested about $900 million into assets in the region.