Former Partners Group exec to lead Salter Brothers’ Asia expansion

As seen in
Christie Ou.

The Australian firm is planning to launch a value-add fund and bespoke strategies with its capital partners in the region.

Rahul Ghai has been hired as managing director, Asia, to lead Australian alternative investment group Salter Brothers’ real estate expansion in the region.

Ghai joined the firm’s newly established Singapore office in November from  Swiss manager Partners Group, where he was most recently managing director and regional head for private real estate Europe. Before he relocated to London in 2021 to lead the group’s European real estate business, he was managing director and regional head for private real estate Asia at the firm since 2017, based in Singapore. Prior to that, he spent six years at Deutsche Bank in Singapore as managing director and head of investments for Asia-Pacific.

Ghai: The former Partners Group executive has relocated back to Singapore to oversee Salter Brothers’ new office

In his new role, Ghai will lead Salter Brothers’ growth outside of Australia, where he will start by identifying investment opportunities with the firm’s capital partners and institutional clients. It is understood the firm is looking at both bespoke mandates for its institutional investors and an Asia-focused value-add fund to be launched next year.

“Australia is our home market and we have done well on behalf of our clients,” Ghai said. “We are increasingly seeing the maturity and institutionalizing of the broader hospitality sector across Asia, so it feels like a natural extension for us to go outside of Australia. We are also responding to what our clients are seeking, as we grow outside Australia.”

In terms of sector, the firm is planning to grow its boutique luxury hotel strategy across Japan and Southeast Asia. It will also look to acquire or organically build platforms focusing on hospitality and the broader living sector, including serviced apartments, co-living and build to rent, according to Ghai. He added that Salter Brothers’ skill set and experience in managing hospitality assets is “complimentary and transferrable” to the extended living sector.

Having opened its first Asian office outside of Australia in Singapore in August, the firm is understood to be in the process of opening an office in Tokyo next. Currently, it has a team of seven investment professionals across Singapore and Japan. Under the leadership of Ghai, some of the more senior hires in the new team include former KSL Capital Partners vice-president Ethan Quek and former IHG Japan director of finance Gene Osborne. In addition, the firm has an existing hospitality operations team based in Vietnam.

“We are excited about the caliber of the team that we have assembled to launch our Asian expansion, with teams now based in Singapore and Japan,” said Paul Salter, managing director of Salter Brothers. “We are committed to the region with in-country teams that can leverage our our existing scale in Asia-Pacific. In Rahul, we have an experienced leader who we believe is the right person to grow our franchise throughout Asia.”

With capital coming from both private wealth clients and institutional investors, Melbourne-headquartered Salter Brothers invests in specialist property, private equity and credit. The group currently has assets under management of more than A$3 billion ($1.95 billion; €1.8 billion). After Salter Brothers’ hotel platform was formed in December 2015, it has built a portfolio of more than 5,000 rooms across 37 hotels.