M&G Real Estate has hired Richard van den Berg from CBRE Global Investors as the new lead for its Asia Property Fund, sources have told AsianInvestor.

Erle Spratt had run the core real estate strategy out of Singapore for six years but left M&G in November 2016 and is now chief executive of Singapore-based advisory firm Aerial Equity, according to his LinkedIn page.

Van den Berg was Greater China head at CBRE GI and manager of its China Opportunity Fund, based in Hong Kong. As such he was responsible for the performance of the portfolios in Greater China and activities in China, with oversight of the firm's Shanghai and Taipei offices.

AsianInvestor could not ascertain whether van den Berg had officially started in the role at M&G, where he would be based or who had looked after the portfolio since Spratt's departure.

London-based M&G declined to comment, and CBRE did not respond to an emailed query.

  Richard van den Berg

M&G's Asia Property Fund, launched in 2006 as the first pan-Asia open-ended real estate vehicle, invests in high-quality assets in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

The strategy had $2.9 billion in AUM as of early last year, said a source, but AsianInvestor could not obtain a more up-to-date figure. M&G Real Estate had £24 billion ($31 billion) in AUM globally as of September 30.

The firm said it had invested $558 million in Asia-Pacific property last year, including the following acquisitions: retail development Casey Central in Melbourne ($164.7 million); a logistics site in Kanagawa, Japan ($113.2 million); retail development Upsquare in Ulsan, South Korea ($141 million); a retail asset in Fukuoka, Japan ($36 million); a $74 million portfolio of residential assets across Chiba, Tokyo and Osaka; Templar Road (logistics) in Sydney ($36 million); and The Olsen Hotel and The Cullen Hotel in Melbourne ($106 million).

Van den Berg had joined CBRE GI via its acquisition of ING Real Estate Investment Management in 2011. He moved there in 2004 from Rodamco Asia, where he was director of asset management responsible for the performance of residential, retail and office assets in China, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.