The Dutch pension asset manager's Asia Pacific head of real estate says his team has just had one of its busiest years ever and that 2021 is looking similarly promising.
The newly created role will result in Behrens relocating from the Windy City to the Lion City, where it bases its regional effort. Behrens has already started his new job and will report directly to Timothy Theriault, Northern TrustÆs president, corporate and institutional services in Chicago.
In his new Singapore-based position, Behrens will assume responsibility for all of Northern TrustÆs businesses and operations in Asia. Aside from leading the Singapore business, he will also run the Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand operations. Additionally, he will also be in charge of Northern TrustÆs fully-owned operations department in the Indian city of Bangalore.
To date, Lawrence Au, managing director in Singapore, has run the firmÆs Asia-Pacific custody business (except for the operations team in Bangalore). Thomas Benzmiller in Hong Kong runs Northern Trust Global Investments for Asia ex-Japan while Kunihiko Nakao heads the asset management business in Japan. They remain in their roles, reporting to Behrens.
Prior returning to Chicago in May, where he was an executive director, Behrens was head of Northern TrustÆs Europe, Middle East and Africa asset servicing business. Before holding this role, he was head of the firmÆs personal financial services nation services division.
Over his 33-year career at Northern Trust, Behrens has also worked in the firmÆs commercial banking business and has also run numerous other businesses for the American niche bank.
Behrens arrives in Singapore after a booming year for Northern Trust. Recently, the bank won the huge custody mandates in Australia (Future Fund) and New Zealand (New Zealand Super) and plans to further expand its footprint in the region as a result of increased business. Its investment management business is centred on passive, enhanced and quantitative mandates.
Mega players Nippon Life and Dai-ichi Life are looking for opportunities in higher-yield single-A US corporate bonds, which offer more appealing yields than stagnant domestic offerings.
The “lower for longer” monetary policy and stimulus packages, coupled with the rolling out of vaccine programmes favorably support real estate investing in the region, with offices and data centres presenting forward-looking opportunities.
As US fixed income default rates rose and yields fell during the pandemic, are Asian bonds, which have had more stable yields through 2020, looking more attractive?
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