Aberdeen Property Investors, the property division of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, is recruiting a team to manage commercial real estate investment in Eastern Europe, with an initial focus on Russia. Members of the team will be based in St Petersburg where Aberdeen is opening a local office.
Aberdeen has recruited a number of highly regarded investment specialists from Baltic Property Trust, a regional fund manager, including Ole Dall-Hansen, previously Director of Fund Raising and Investor relations at Baltic Property Trust, who will head the team. The new team will work alongside existing Aberdeen investment managers, based in Finland, who have already been conducting in-depth research with a view to expanding into the Russian market.
Aberdeen is currently finalizing plans to launch a Russian direct property fund for institutional investors seeking opportunistic exposure with the potential for higher returns. It will be a diversified fund investing in commercial property.
Rickard Backlund, CEO of Aberdeen Property Investors, comments, "Local active management is core to our business and our decision to open an office in St Petersburg reflects our belief in the long term potential of the Russian property market. We are now building a strong team to find interesting transactions for investors and to actively manage properties in this market. Our aim is to generate greater performance through active management, whilst the presence of a local team with local knowledge reduces investment risks and helps safeguard our clients' investments."
Ubbe Strihagen, International Director of Aberdeen Property Investors, comments, "Many of our institutional clients have expressed an interest in gaining exposure to the Eastern European property markets and want to have a professional partner with local resources. We have spent the last 12 months preparing for our expansion into Russia and are now in the final stages of structuring our first Russian fund. We expect to have the fund up and running during the third quarter of this year.
"Russia is a fast growing economy with strong GDP growth. At the same time, Russian property is underdeveloped with large potential for property investments. Demand for office space is steadily increasing and a rising personal income has provided the retail sector with a period of strong growth. Furthermore, Russia has 16 cities with more than one million people, implying a growing demand for property beyond Moscow and St Petersburg."