Real estate investment boutique LaSalle Investment Management has hired Mike Smith to serve as director of client services for Asia-Pacific.

He is joining from Skandia Investment Management, where he had led institutional and international sales for its multi-manager and single-strategy mutual funds. Smith has also worked at Gartmore Investment Management and HSBC Asset Management (now called HSBC Investments).

He is filling a position, based in Singapore, that was vacated by Philip Levinson in December, who left to join competitor RREEF, Deutsche BankÆs real estate and infrastructure investment arm.

SmithÆs job is to raise capital from investors in the Asia-Pacific region for LaSalleÆs direct real estate and global-securities funds.

LaSalle now manages $6.2 billion of assets. Historically most of its asset-gathering took place outside of Asia, but in 2007, LaSalle attracted what it terms ôsubstantial new moneyö from Australia for both securities and private funds. It also has clients in Japan and Hong Kong, markets where it expects to grow its business, says Celia Jennings, head of global client services in London, to whom Smith reports.

There are no immediate plans for additional hires in Asia, however.