Korean pension funds make senior appointments

Just a week after Korea Teachers promoted Park Min Ho to CIO, Korea’s National Pension Service hired Choi Kwang as chairman and CEO.

Two of Korea’s most prominent institutional investors have made significant appointments this month.  

Choi Kwang has joined the $386 billion National Pension Service of Korea as chairman and chief executive after his predecessor, Jun Kwang-woo, resigned in February after a government reshuffle, according to local Korean media citing a statement from the ministry of health and welfare.

NPS did not respond to requests for comment.

Kwang will now proceed to hire a management team, which could include finding a new chief investment officer because incumbent Lee Chan-woo could leave the fund after his term ends in October 2013.

The move comes shortly after Korea Teachers’ Pension Fund promoted Park Min Ho to the role of chief investment officer, KTPF confirmed to Private Equity International. Ho declined to be interviewed at this time.

Yun Kyu Lee, the former chief investment officer, had announced his resignation in March after spending five years at the $11 billion public retirement fund. 

Korea’s pension funds are becoming more active investors in private equity, both at home and abroad. 

NPS, which is Korea’s biggest domestic pension fund, revealed it would increase commitments to alternatives to 10 percent by 2016 from 5.7 percent in 2011, PEI reported earlier. The fund also opened a London office in March 2012. 

The public markets are limited, so we plan to increase our investments in alternative assets overseas, including private equity funds

Yun Kyu Lee, former CIO, Korea Teachers' Pension Fund

The Government Employees’ Pension Service is also increasing its commitment to alternative assets globally. The firm’s head of alternative assets Hyuk-Do Kee told PEI, “We have a plan to increase investment outside [Korea] gradually. We expect the ratio of overseas [alternative] investment to be 6.8 percent next year and 7.8 percent in 2015.”

Former KTPF chief investment officer Lee said at PEI’s Global Alternative Investment Forum in Seoul last year that his organisation has KRW 500 billion (€340 million; $429 million) or 5 percent of total assets invested in private equity, admitting the amount “is not that big thus far”.

“The public markets are limited, so we plan to increase our investments in alternative assets overseas, including private equity funds,” he said. 

Park Min Ho from Korea Teachers’ Pension Fund will be speaking at PEI’s Global Alternative Investment Forum: Korea on 12 June in Seoul. For more information please click here.