Deutsche Bank’s RREEF Real Estate has completed its leadership line-up with the appointment of Leslie Chua as head of research and strategy for Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan and Korea).

Chua’s appointment in Singapore comes after RREEF hired Rahul Ghai as its director of acquisitions and asset management for Southeast Asia last month, also in Singapore.

Just this June, the business named Mark Roberts as its global head of research based in Singapore, and in January hired Simon Durkin as head of European research, based in London.

The basing of its global research head in Singapore and the strengthening of its regional leadership team can be viewed as a strategic tactic, given RREEF’s view that Asia-Pacific properties will outperform over the next few years, albeit with a higher level of risk.

The business is forecasting average returns of 8-11% globally from 2011 to 2015. China notably has the highest forecast returns for industrial, office and retail properties, but it also has the highest volatility and downside risk.

High expected returns in Hong Kong and Singapore are accompanied by cyclical features, including historically sharp rental declines. That contrasts with the resilience (and lower expected returns) of Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei.

Yet while RREEF expects growth in the Asia-Pacific region to be stronger in Asia-Pacific than the US and Europe over the next few years, it suggests total returns are likely to be within one percentage point of the US and two of Europe – mainly due to Asia’s elevated pricing levels.

“[Chua’s] appointment completes the build-out of the leadership of RREEF Real Estate’s global research team,” says Kurt Roeloffs, RREEF Real Estate’s global chief investment officer.

Chua will now work alongside Koichuro Obu, who is the firm’s head of research and strategy for Japan and Korea.

Unavailable for interview at press time, Chua has more than a decade of experience in property research. Most recently he was head of research and strategic planning at Pacific Star Holdings.

Prior to that he held a similar post at Standard Chartered Bank – Istithmar Real Estate Fund Management, and has helped to develop the Jones Lang LaSalle Real Estate Intelligence Service.

RREEF Real Estate is the property investment management business of Deutsche Bank’s asset management division. It employs nearly 600 staff in 22 cities and had $61.8 billion in assets under management as at June 30 this year.