Zain Fancy Launches Firm in Singapore

Zain Fancy, the former head of Morgan Stanley’s Asia real estate investment business, has set up a firm in Singapore to invest in small and medium-sized properties, Reuters wrote Friday. Fancy’s Clifton Real Estate, named after the area in Pakistan’s commercial capital Karachi where he was born, will focus on Singapore initially and look at buying assets worth up to $100 million.

(Reuters) – Zain Fancy, the former head of Morgan Stanley’s Asia real estate investment business, has set up a firm in Singapore to invest in small and medium-sized properties following the end of a legal dispute with Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC.

Fancy had left Morgan Stanley in 2008 to join Och-Ziff as head of a joint venture between the U.S. fund manager and several ex-Morgan Stanley executives that would invest in property.

Fancy’s Clifton Real Estate, named after the area in Pakistan’s commercial capital Karachi where he was born, will focus on Singapore initially and look at buying assets worth up to $100 million.

“Our focus is on small to mid-sized transactions that are of less interest to some of the larger developers or investors,” Fancy, who is now a Singapore citizen, told Reuters in an email.

“For smaller investment transactions, we would capitalize those ourselves. For some of the larger transactions we may bring in potential co-investors to invest alongside us,” he said.

Fancy said the next 12-18 months could be a “very interesting time” to invest in property across Asia as a weak economy presents opportunities.

He declined to comment on his dispute with former employer Och-Ziff except that the two had “mutually agreed to end their joint venture.”

Och-Ziff declined to comment, and a check with Singapore’s Supreme Court showed that records had been sealed, indicating the lawsuit has been discontinued or settled.

Clifton was set up in September this year, according to Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

Fancy last year sued New York-based Och-Ziff for about $8 million in Singapore in unpaid compensation, alleging he was unjustly fired, court documents show .

He also sought arbitration proceedings against Och-Ziff in London seeking an undisclosed amount.

Och-Ziff, in response, had said its move was justified and alleged Fancy’s involvement in a probe by U.S. authorities into a case of corruption at Morgan Stanley had made it difficult for the new unit to raise money from investors, the documents showed.

Fancy’s defence was that he had merely given evidence to U.S. investigators looking into claims a former Morgan Stanley executive had violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law designed to crack down on bribes being paid overseas.