Dato Stewart LaBrooy is the Executive Chairman of AREA Management Sdn. Bhd. a subsidiary of AREA Advisors Pte Ltd (AREA) an appointment he has taken since his retirement as CEO and Executive Director of Axis REIT Managers Bhd (ARMB) on 31 December 2015. With a career spanning over 40 years in the industrial space, he has spent well over a decade since 2005 in heading Axis REIT and establishing REITs as an important component of the capital markets.
He was appointed Executive Director of Axis REIT on 22 March 2005 and Chief Executive Office (“CEO”) of Axis REIT since August 2008. Axis REIT was the first REIT to be listed in Malaysia and the first Shariah-compliant industrial REIT in the world. Under his leadership, Axis REIT has won several awards, among them, the APREA Best Practices Award in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Axis REIT has provided its investors with total average annual returns in excess of 25% over the 10 years he helmed the business. Axis REIT still trades today at a 30% premium to its NAV.
Since its inception, AREA was established as a boutique advisory firm providing advice on investing in industrial properties in Malaysia, UK, Australia and Germany. Our investor base ranged from pension funds and family offices to institutional investors and as of to date we have provided advice and concluded investments exceeding USD$2.5 billion.
AREA has decided to expand its advisory role to include funds management. It set up the AREA Industrial Development Fund 1 (AIDF 1) a company that will undertake the investment management activities and AREA Management Sdn Bhd (AMSB) which was set up to undertake the management of the projects of the fund in Malaysia. AREA Advisors Pte Ltd was re-designated as the Funds Management Company.
AREA, through the establishment of its Funds, intends to roll-out 2-3 industrial parks of 150-400 acres each. It intends to co-invest in the development of these parks by working with strategic partners & landowners. These industrial parks will provide the Malaysian Industrial Real Estate Market a paradigm shift in quality and services to its clients. In November 2015 AIDF 1 launched its first maiden project – a 1,200,000 sq. ft. e-commerce hub in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
In 2017 Dato’ LaBrooy and the AREA team established and launched the world’s first unlisted Shariah compliant Education Asset based REIT (Alpha REIT) which has a planned listing in 2021. He currently serves as its Non Independent Non Executive Chairman of the Board.
Dato LaBrooy has been writing on a regular basis on Property and REITs for the local mainstream print and online media for the past five years or so, and is known and recognised as the “REIT Guru” in the country. He is also a prominent speaker on the subject of Industrial Estate Development and Conventional and Islamic REITs in the region, having been invited to deliver papers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Istanbul, New York, London, Saudi Arabia, Philippines and Malaysia.
He is a Board member of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA), an organization that represents and promotes the real estate asset class in the Asia Pacific region. It is the industry body for the suppliers and users of capital in the real estate sector. He served as the founding Chairman of the Malaysian REIT Managers Association (MRMA), from 2010-2015, an organization he helped set up in 2010 to give Malaysian REIT Managers a single voice for the purpose of engagement with the Regulators and Ministry of Finance.
Dato’ Stewart LaBrooy is also a director of a number of public and private companies involved in property development, services and property investment.
He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Studies from the University of Sheffield and is a member of the Institute of Engineers, Malaysia.