CIC loses more private equity talent

The $460bn sovereign wealth fund’s original private equity team has almost completely turned over, leading to concerns about the loss of ‘institutional knowledge’.

Daniel Hu, a director with the private equity team at China Investment Corporation, resigned from the organisation several weeks ago, two people with knowledge of CIC said.

Hu’s is among a rash of resignations that has left CIC’s original private equity team a skeleton of its former self. The original team – the employees who started in 2008 and helped build the portfolio into one of the industry-leading behemoths today — have for the most part departed, opting not to renew their three-year contracts and head for more lucrative positions elsewhere in the industry, sources said.

It’s unclear officially why Hu decided to leave. CIC could not be reached for comment.

Hu’s resignation came at a time when other executives have chosen to leave the organisation, including James Ieong, a managing director with the $460 billion sovereign wealth fund; Collin Lau, former head of European private equity; and Patrick Wu, head of the real estate programme.

The sovereign fund has made some internal moves to fill the vacancies left by the departing executives. Xiaoqing Bai, who is in charge of the North American private equity unit, took over the global real estate portfolio from Wu. Bai formerly worked as a spokesperson for CIC.

Olivia Ouyang, who leads the fund’s emerging markets focus, took over responsibility for European private equity. Winston Ma, who joined CIC with the initial wave of investment officials who launched the private equity programme, remains with the organisation and was moved to Canada to work on CIC’s efforts to build up exposure to direct investments.

With all the turnover, some sources have expressed concern that the professionals who had built the private equity programme from the beginning are no longer there, leading to the loss of “institutional knowledge” about the portfolio.

“With all this re-shuffling, very quickly you’re seeing in the order of magnitude of tens of billions of dollars in the hands of very new people,” according to a person with knowledge of the organisation. “It’s a very big shift; many of the people today in the private equity department would not remember all the history around the first generation investments.”