REAL ESTATE - "It doesn’t matter what you invest in or which market you invest in, just invest," Baring fund manager Chris Lees said of Asian real estate.

In a global equity strategy published last week, Lees, who managers the Baring Global Select Fund, said the fund was "pursuing an Asian real estate theme", citing real estate development companies as particularly investible.

In an interview with IPE Real Estate, Lees drew no distinction between direct and indirect investment, nor between mature markets such as Singapore and less mature, higher-risk markets such as China.

"It doesn’t matter where, as long as you have a good local partner," he said.

"The most important decision any investor can make is the decision to invest somewhere in Asia – and then find local expertise."

"If you’re going direct, a local partner is the key. If you’re into bonds, you’ll invest in REITs. Plan C is to do all of the above."

In fact, he said, the rise of Asian real estate reflected an eastwards shift in "the financial centre of gravity".

Asked about the issue of transparency in complex Asian markets, Lees compared it to the US at the beginning of the twentieth century.

"1901 was a good time to buy property in most major US cities. Do you think the US was a transparent market?"