Star Asia is a privately owned, independent investment management group focused on delivering superior investment returns to its clients by investing primarily in Japanese real estate related opportunities.
Star Asia was co-founded in 2006 by Malcolm F. MacLean IV and Taro Masuyama who each have over 20 years of experience in real estate, credit, corporate finance, capital markets and securitization. The group currently has over 20 professionals in Japan and the United States. Star Asia’s partners and employees share a long-term perspective and always operate under their Guiding Principles which continuously drive the group to become and remain as one of the leading real estate investment management firms in Japan.
Since its inception, Star Asia has invested over JPY370 billion in real estate related opportunities including properties, loans, securitized assets, and companies. The group’s strong track record and long-term partnership approach with our investors have been integral in attracting significant capital from sophisticated global investors, including large U.S. university endowments and foundations, Japanese and European pension funds, U.S. and Asia based family offices as well as other global real estate investors. The group is committed to its disciplined Investment Philosophy with a single goal of meeting and exceeding its clients’ expectations for the mandates we are given.
- 1Research Focus
We believe that consistent outperformance can only be achieved when investment opportunities identified through our rigorous origination process are validated against the comprehensive understanding of the ever-changing market environment. Government policies, macroeconomic environment, state of capital markets, trends in demographics, real estate supply/demand dynamics, status of the real estate market cycle, outlook and appetite by potential tenants, as well as anticipated behavior of other market participants are only a few of the critical inputs we analyze. In order to formulate and continually update our understanding of the current market environment, we run iterative processes of gathering feedback from our day-to-day investment and asset management activities, which are supplemented by various third-party research reports and data that is further investigated and verified by us to generate our unbiased view.
- 2Market Inefficiencies
Unlike highly efficient foreign exchange, interest rate and public equity markets, the Japanese and other Asian private real estate markets are inherently inefficient. Although Tokyo is the world’s largest metropolis in terms of population (approximately 35 million), GDP, and real estate capital values, in our opinion, it is significantly less efficient than the U.S. or U.K. markets. The Japanese real estate market has high barriers-to-entry, asymmetric information flows, a less developed securitization market, and a limited universe of well-capitalized opportunistic market participants, which together creates market inefficiencies. We believe that thorough robust analysis and deep local relationships combined with our significant hands-on experience allow us to identify and capitalize on these market inefficiencies that are not obvious to our competitors.
- 3Maximizing and Unlocking Value
The real estate properties that we evaluate for investment are typically not operated to their maximum potential at the time of our investment. Some owners are not professional real estate investors, failed to invest necessary capital expenditures, and/or had poorly managed leasing strategies. Some real estate properties have certain compliance issues that can be cured with limited cost and time, or have potential to generate higher net operating income if repositioned or repurposed properly. We utilize our own experience along with technical advice from third-party professionals, as necessary, to formulate and execute the optimal asset management, capital expenditures, renovation, and repositioning plans. Implementation of these plans will maximize and unlock the property’s intrinsic value in the most efficient manner from a cost and time perspective.
We believe deliberate specialization and a flat organization allow us to identify, properly structure, and dependably execute attractive, but often complex, investment opportunities. This specialization leads us to more predictable success and sets us apart from our competitors. Our senior professionals have years of hands-on experience in real estate deal sourcing, underwriting, structuring, asset management, financing, capital markets, and securitization. Star Asia’s senior professionals have developed deep-rooted local relationships over multiple real estate cycles, and have executed some of the most creative and complex investment opportunities in the market.
- 5Risk Control
Our objective is to achieve consistent and superior risk-adjusted returns by only assuming well-calculated risks. When a potentially attractive investment opportunity is identified, we examine all the risks associated with the potential opportunity through our rigorous review process. We then negotiate with the counterparties to determine a fair risk-sharing arrangement while formulating structural solutions to eliminate or mitigate other risks, where possible. Concurrently, we conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses to evaluate the viability of the potential investment opportunity against our strict underwriting criteria.
- 6Dependability, Transparency, and Decisive Action
Our trade counterparties know that they can depend on us when they need to sell their real estate related assets quickly, discreetly and/or through a complex structure that others may not be able to handle or understand. We are always candid and transparent by clearly explaining our requirements up front including expected deal economics, our strict due diligence process, and then work tirelessly and creatively to meet the counterparty’s specific objectives and timing. Our flat organization and highly efficient, decision-making process allows us to be very flexible, tactical and decisive. This philosophy and execution style are valued by our trade counterparties who repeatedly bring attractive investment opportunities that reward our clients with outsized returns.
- 1Client First
We are rewarded only when we consistently meet and exceed our investor clients’ expectations for the mandates they have given to us.
- 2Highest Ethical Standards and Integrity
We always abide by the highest ethical standards and integrity. Unethical actions by an employee could easily destroy the group’s long-standing reputation and trust.
We utilize our experience, persistence, and creativity to identify and monetize investment opportunities which may not be immediately apparent to our competitors.
- 4Respect for Others
We treat our investor clients, employees, trade counterparties, and vendors with the utmost respect, and always strive to be trustworthy partner.
- 5Collaborative and Cooperative Culture
We succeed only when we work together as one-group by fully utilizing our collective strengths in a cooperative manner to serve our investor clients. The group’s performance always exceeds the sum of our individual performances.
We stay nimble, proactive and critical, allowing us to adjust quickly as the market environment changes in order to continue to be a successful leader in the market we do business.
We reward our employees for their specific personal performance as well as their contribution to the group and to the investor client performance.
- 8Endless Pursuit of Excellence
We will tirelessly pursue excellence not only for our investor clients but also for ourselves.
Malcolm F. MacLean Ⅳ
Malcolm MacLean is a founder of Star Asia and currently serves as its Managing Partner. He is also co-founder of Mercury Real Estate Advisor LLC and formerly served as its Portfolio Manager and Head Trader. He has an abundance of experience, including over 24 years in real estate related asset investment and involvement in establishing listed and non-listed real estate securities and real estate investment in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Prior to that, he advised listed and non-listed companies on the issuance of stocks and bonds as well as M&As while working at the Real Estate Investment Banking Groups of Paine Webber Incorporated and Kidder, Peabody & Co., Inc. (current UBS AG) and closed many transactions as the team leader of origination, structuring and execution. MacLean studied economics at Cambridge University in the U.K. and obtained a bachelor's degree in economics and law from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Taro Masuyama is a founder of Star Asia and currently serves as its managing partner. He formerly served as Managing Director and Head of the Asia-Pacific region’s Structured Credit Products and Japan Credit Sales and Marketing at Merrill Lynch and managed the origination, structuring, trading and marketing of all structured credit as well as fund products in the Asia-Pacific region in addition to sales marketing of Japanese credit products. During his seven-year stint at Merrill Lynch, his team was involved in securitizations with over 2.8 trillion yen in underlying assets including securitizations of major Japanese banks’ loan portfolios that won several awards from various media. Before joining Merrill Lynch in April 1999, he provided various structured balance sheet solutions primarily to Japanese banks as Vice President of Global Credit Derivatives at Bankers Trust. Prior to that, he was involved in the streamlining of headquarters functions at various international companies as a consultant at Andersen Consulting in Tokyo, Chicago and Los Angeles. Masuyama obtained a bachelor’s degree from Waseda University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Atago Green Hills Mori Tower 18F,
2-5-1, Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo
125 Gaither Drive, Suite L Mount Laurel, NJ 08054