UBS appoints global head of RE

The asset management arm of the Swiss financial services giant has tapped its chief operating officer to oversee its global real estate business, taking over from departing head, Paul Marcuse.

UBS Global Asset Management has named Thomas Wels, its chief operating officer, as head of global real estate. He will succeed Paul Marcuse, who had has held the position since 2007 and will be leaving the firm next month.

“Thomas’s strong leadership and entrepreneurial skills make him well-qualified to drive the growth of our real estate business,” said John Fraser, chairman and chief executive officer of UBS Global AM, in a statement.

Wels, who joined UBS in 2005, led the integration and further expansion of the firm’s global fund administration business, which provides services such as legal set-up, reporting and accounting for retail and institutional investment funds, hedge funds and other alternative products. He will assume his new role on 1 December, and will work with Marcuse during the transition period.

Meanwhile, Paresh Sodha, the firm’s chief financial officer, will take on the additional role of acting chief operating officer. Additionally, Richard Johnson, who most recently was head of business development for the Asia Pacific region, was appointed head of business development for global real estate, effective 3 December. He will report to Wels.

The imminent departure of Marcuse follows the exit of veteran capital raiser Douglas Lee, who previously was head of real estate private equity fundraising at UBS. Lee recently joined Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management as head of sales, marketing and investor relations.
UBS Global AM’s global real estate business manages real estate investments globally and regionally within Asia, Europe and the US, across the major real estate sectors. The firm is focused on core and value-added strategies, which include direct and indirect investments, multi-manager funds and real estate securities. As of 30 September, UBS Global AM had CHF 588 billion (€488.40 billion; $632.95 billion) in invested assets, of which CHF 41 billion was in real estate. Its real estate funds include Investment Circle UK, a £193 million (€230 million, $304 million) fund launched early this year to target core and value-added properties in the UK.