ASIA – Property investment manager Cordea Savills has expanded its Asian operations by linking up with independent Japanese merchant bank Merchant Capital to form an investment platform in Japan.

The new business, trading under the Cordea Savills name, will cater for clients aiming to invest in Japan, offering products ranging from pooled funds to single asset mandates.

Justin O'Connor, chief executive of Cordea Savills, said the new platform transformed the company's offering in Asia at a time when capital inflows into the region from overseas investors were continuing to increase.

"We've been in Asia for about three years raising capital, but this is the first time we're going into a full-service platform that will allow us to invest as well," he said.

Japan is a major market and one where there are "a lot of opportunities", O'Connor said.

He added: "You can invest right across the risk-return spectrum, particularly in income, which is attractive to a lot of investors because of asset-liability matching."

To begin with, Cordea Savills in Japan will focus on commercial and residential property.

The new platform will build on the existing business of Merchant Capital, which focuses on real estate.

The bank's core business provides access to distressed debt, bank work-out mandates and other real estate investment, while Cordea Savills has expertise in fund structuring as well as access to international institutional investors.

The bank's two managing partners, Tom Silecchia and Tadaaki Kurozumi, will form part of the Cordea Savills management team in Asia.

They will work with existing and new clients within the Cordea Savills team, but also work separately on Merchant Capital's legacy business.

Merchant Capital was founded in 2005 by members of Merrill Lynch's Japanese real estate principal investment business, and invests for institutional as well as private investors.

Asset management for the new platform will be done by Tokyo-based Savills Asset Advisory, a subsidiary of Savills with Y148bn (€1.1bn) under management.

Cordea Savills said Japan's property market had continued to recover since policy changes introduced by prime minister Shinzo Abe to stimulate growth.

It said this signalled renewed interest from international investors, particularly as a source of income returns.

Japan was considered a key element of global strategies, Cordea Savills said, adding that, along with the US and UK, it was a country where single-country strategies were accepted.

The weakening Japanese yen is also likely to make inward investment more attractive, the firm said.