Christoph Schumacher, global head of real estate at Credit Suisse Asset Management, is leaving to spearhead Manulife Investment Management’s expansion into private real assets.

As global head of real assets, private markets, Schumacher will oversee US$42.9bn (€35.3bn) of investments in real estate, infrastructure, timber and agriculture.

Steve Blewitt, global head of private markets, told IPE Real Assets that the appointment was the latest step in expanding Manulife’s third-party fund management activities.

The insurer has invested in private real assets for several decades, but over the past decade its investment arm “decided to more actively pursue managing private assets for external clients”, Blewitt said.

In 2019, Manulife also unified its separate institutional, retail and retirement wealth and asset management businesses under a single Manulife Investment Management brand.

Manulife’s real estate activities are currently restricted to North America and Asia-Pacific, and Blewitt said Europe was one of the intended areas of growth.

Shumacher, who over the years has held senior leadership positions at the real estate arms of Credit Suisse, Union Investment and Generali, will be well placed to expand Manulife IM’s real estate presence in Europe.

Blewitt said Manulife intended to expand in all geographies and real asset classes.

Schumacher has been based in Zurich at Credit Suisse for the past four years and will remain in Europe “for the time being”, the company said, before eventually moving to Boston.

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