KIC opens Singapore office for SE Asia, Aus push

The Korean sovereign wealth fund expects to boost returns through more manager relationships and co-investments in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sovereign wealth fund Korea Investment Corporation opened an office in Singapore on Friday as it seeks to boost investments in South-East Asia, India and Oceania.

Singapore brings KIC’s overseas office count to three after New York and London.

The investor said it will manage assets locally through the Singapore office while focusing on deal-sourcing and building networks in Southeast Asia, India and Oceania. In addition, the Singapore outpost will also be key to KIC’s plans to increase fund commitments with regional managers as well as co-investments with major institutional investors.

Senior director Lee Sangmin is heading up the Singapore office, spokesperson for KIC told PEI.

KIC manages about $110.8 billion of assets as of end-2016, of which 13.7 percent or roughly $15 billion was invested in alternative assets, which include private equity, real estate, infrastructure and hedge funds.

The fund reportedly plans to raise its allocation to alternatives to 20 percent by 2020.

KIC posted a total return of 4.35 percent las year, compared to -3 percent in 2015, boosted by returns on alternative investments. As of the end of 2016, the fund recorded an annualised investment return since inception of 6.57 percent for alternative investments.

KIC established its alternative investment division in 2009 and started investing in private equity funds immediately following the global financial crisis. It began making direct investments in 2010 and co-investments with GPs in 2011.

The fund has backed private equity firms including BC Partners, TA Associates, EQT, The Longreach Group and Tata Capital, according to PEI data.