REAL ESTATE – Goldman Sachs has hired Michael Smith, head of real estate in Asia at UBS, for its Singapore office.

It’s also taken on Vincent Peng, head of UBS's corporate investment group for Singapore's Government of Singapore Investment Corporation real estate business. It’s also nabbed Peter Best from UBS in Singapore.

The trio is Goldman’s first Asian real estate hires, as the bank aims to boost its presence in the area amid growth in Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Elsewhere, Merrill Lynch has said it plans to 15 or more Asian real estate staff.

“Opportunities for property-related business will increase faster than ever,” in Asia said Merrill’s Asian principal investments head Shinji Yoshikawa in an interview with Bloomberg News.