Wednesday 20 November 2019

CBRE names global investment chief as Dubai staffs up

Dubai Properties Group, owned by ruler of the emirate, pictured, has appointed a new boss. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Dubai Properties Group, owned by ruler of the emirate, pictured, has appointed a new boss. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

CBRE Global Investors, the asset-management affiliate of the world's biggest commercial real estate services company, has named T Ritson Ferguson to the new post of global chief investment officer.

The move will expand his oversight of investment decisions and offerings in publicly traded and nonlisted securities, according to a statement from the Los Angeles-based unit of CBRE Group. Ferguson will continue as chief executive officer and co-CIO of the affiliate's CBRE Clarion Securities unit, a specialist in real estate investment trusts.

"The real estate business is good right now," Ferguson (56) said in a telephone interview. "Almost everywhere around the world you look, economies are in expansion and real estate fundamentals are improving."

In the US, the recent retreat in real estate investment trusts amid expectations of rising interest rates created a buying opportunity, said Ferguson.

The Bloomberg index of US REITs fell about 10pc in the second quarter and is up about 6pc since the end of June.

It's a "misperception" that US REIT shares don't do well when rates increase, he said, since rising rates tend to equate to an improving economy.

Ferguson recommends sticking to property types that perform best when the economy expands, including those with short-term leases that allow owners to boost rents as occupancy increases.

"We like sectors like apartments, malls, hotels and even select office markets," Ferguson said. "What I'd be careful about in this environment is real estate that doesn't have the ability to reprice its rental streams" because of long-term leases with little rent growth. He cited net-lease and health- care landlords as examples.

Ferguson joined CBRE in 2011 when the company bought the real estate investment management business of Dutch lender ING Groep. He co-founded the predecessor company to Radnor, Pennsylvania-based CBRE Clarion Securities in 1991.

CBRE Global Investors, led by CEO Matt Khourie, manages about $88bn.

Ferguson previously worked at KS Sweet Associates, Bain & Co, and Trammell Crow Co. He also served in the US Air Force. He earned a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and a bachelor's degree from Duke University.

Meanwhile, Dubai Properties Group, owned by the emirate's ruler, has appointed Abdullatif AlMulla as its chief executive.

The company also named Naaman Atallah as chief executive of its subsidiary Dubai Properties, which manages the parent firm's property sales and leasing portfolio.

Both are part of Dubai Holding, which is owned by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

AlMulla was formerly chief executive of TECOM Investments, another unit of Dubai Holding, the statement said.

Prior to joining Dubai Properties, Atallah was chief operating officer of Qatari Diar, the real estate arm of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority.

Dubai Properties Group is one of the emirate's biggest developers, along with Emaar Properties, Nakheel and DAMAC Properties. (Additional reporting Bloomberg and Reuters)

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