Russell builds Asia property capability

It creates a new role in Singapore to source Asian property investment opportunities.

Russell Investment Group, which advises clients on $2.3 trillion of assets, has appointed Sally Haskins to a newly created role in Sydney to oversee its property capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, and to consider developing unlisted real-estate products in 2006.

"The property sector has globalized over the past two-to-three years and investors now have access to an increasingly broad range of global property investment opportunities," says Bruce Pflaum, managing director for Asia in Singapore. More of Asia and Japan's big institutional investors are following their pension counterparts in the West in seeking new property opportunities, including alternative strategies such as global real-estate private-equity funds.

"Some of the most exciting property markets are on our doorstep," Pflaum says, "with Reit and private real estate investment sectors evolving in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan."

Haskins previously served in the firm's US property team in Tacoma, Washington, where Russell is headquartered. In Sydney, she will work with CIO Peter Gunning and report to Karl Smith, the Tacoma-based director of real estate. Her initial responsibilities include conducting research into private property markets and determining whether there is scope for Russell to launch a global unlisted opportunistic real-estate product.

In her previous rol,e she evaluated real-estate capital and property-market trends globally, as well as reviewed investment products and managers for Russell's real-estate group. She joined the firm in 1999 after serving as a portfolio manager at Institutional Property Consultants and for the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio.