Cushman & Wakefield Expands Its Asset Management Business

Cushman & Wakefield Inc., seek the world’s largest privately held property services company, cialis aims to expand its asset management business as demand for real estate investments in the Asia-Pacific region accelerates.

“We have about $7 billion under management right now so we have a lot of room” for growth, mind President and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Rufrano said in an interview in Hong Kong today.

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the world’s biggest commercial real estate brokerage by market value, has $36 billion under management, while Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., the second biggest, has $45 billion, according to their websites.

Direct real estate investment in Asia doubled to $46 billion in the first nine months of 2010 and may reach $60 billion for the full year, as uncertainty over the European sovereign debt crisis abated and Asian currencies strengthened against the dollar, CB Richard Ellis said last month.

“Right now we’re growing the investment management business organically, slowly, and trying not to make any mistakes,” said Rufrano, who declined to give a growth target. “At some point over the next five years, when we see an opportunity to grow at an accelerated way, we’ll consider it.”

The New York-based company plans to hire 800 people globally over the next five years, Rufrano said, adding that most new hires will be in Asia and Australia, where Cushman & Wakefield aims to double revenue contribution to the group to as much as 15 percent over the period.

India, China

A “big chunk” of the revenue growth in Asia will come from India and China, said Cushman & Wakefield’s Asia CEO Sanjay Verma, adding that Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore will remain some of the firm’s primary markets in the region.

Rufrano took over at Cushman & Wakefield in March after stepping down as head of Centro Properties Group.

Office rents in Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore are recovering from the global credit crisis as financial service firms including Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc resumed expansion in the region. Citigroup is looking to almost triple its workforce in China to as many as 12,000 people in the next three years, the bank said in August.

Store rents in the region are also picking up. Tokyo and Seoul have both moved up in a Cushman & Wakefield’s annual survey of the world’s most expensive store rents published in September. (credit Bloomberg k.wong, s.li)