NEW YORK — One year after becoming a publicly traded company, real estate specialist Cohen & Steers Inc. is expanding outside of its comfort zone.
The firm, which manages $18.5 billion in worldwide assets, about $14 billion of which is largely in U.S. real estate investment trust-related strategies, has begun broadening its investment capabilities beyond real estate and beyond the United States.
The goals, said Robert Steers, co-chief executive officer, are to diversify its business and lure more institutional money to the 19-year old shop.
Within the past month, the firm has established its first traditional large-cap value equity investment team and started an aggressive effort to build an institutional marketing unit.
Cohen & Steers began to put the pieces in place to support its growth plan late last year. On Dec. 14, the firm bought a 50% stake in Houlihan Rovers SA, Brussels, a manager of non-U.S. real estate securities, with approximately $500 million in assets. Cohen & Steers then followed up on April 20 by hiring Derek Cheung from HSBC Securities (Asia) Ltd., Hong Kong, to open an office in the region for Asian real estate investments.
More recent moves, however, might prove to be the most significant in Cohen & Steers' bid to draw more institutional business.