Peter Churchouse, Morgan Stanley's delphic oracle of the Hong Kong property market, has announced that he is to step down from running the bank's regional property research team. He will remain with the firm in the role of advisory director.

Churchouse joined Morgan Stanley in 1988 and has been a consistent bull on the Hong Kong property market. He has an iconic status among the local Hong Kong property watchers. Indeed when he was spotted buying a flat for his son at a new development in Hong Kong's mid-levels, the photo was splashed on the front pages of the local Chinese press. The prices at that development subsequently soared.

His appointment to advisory director shows how highly regarded he is within the firm. This position is reserved for for retiring managing directors. The only other advisory director from Morgan Stanley's Asian operations is Jack Wadsworth who was chairman of the firm's Asian franchise until 1999.

"Throughout his career in Hong Kong, and also since joining Morgan Stanley in 1988, Peter has become a greatly respected, well-known and well-liked figure in the local market and an important part of our franchise," says Alasdair Morrison, chairman and chief executive of Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific. "While his day to day input will be missed, we will continue to benefit from his guidance and wisdom."

In his new role, Churchouse will concentrate on global research products as well as helping his colleagues with his knowledge and contacts within the regional property market. He is also likely to spend as much time on water as he will on land as the 53 year old is an extremely keen ocean sailor.

The new head of the regional property research team will be Rob Hart. The affable South African was a property analyst under Churchouse before being promoted to head of conglomerates research. He will now run the conglomerate and property research teams. He will be ably supported on the property side by Kenny Tse and Tom Kim.