With a lack of investment opportunities at home, Aussie property trust manager MacarthurCook has announced plans to expand its investment horizons in Asia, seeking mandates from institutions that want to diversify their portfolios.

The ASX listed investor, with A$700 million under management and seven individual property trusts, has already pinpointed Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan as potential markets.

ôOver the past year we have developed an indepth knowledge of the Asian property and REIT markets, and have conducted a number of research visits to identify the most attractive investment opportunities,ö says MacarthurCookÆs managing director Craig Dunstan.

ôInstitutions seeking greater investment opportunities than those present in AustraliaÆs REIT market will find that diversification into Asian real estate securities can provide higher returns.ö

Dunstan says Asian REITs with premium assets have outperformed the general economy, and that there is scope for asset enhancement and greater efficiency, especially with the low cost of debt.

MarcarthurCook is hoping to pick up institutional investor mandates to manage either solely Australian securities or Asian-Pacific securities.

The firm has recently joined the new Asian Public Real Estate Association, which is assisting in the development of the property trust market in Asia, and is employing Malaysian-born Vee Chan Soe as a specialist Asian REIT analyst.