Updated: NPS CIO resigns

Myoun-Wook Kang, who joined the Korean pension fund in February 2016, is leaving the firm after a wave of key personnel departures early this year.

Kang Myoun-Wook, chief investment officer of the National Pension Service of Korea, has resigned from the $500 billion pension fund for personal reasons, Private Equity International has learned.

A spokesperson for NPS said Cho In-Sik, former head of global markets, has stepped in as acting CIO until a new successor has been appointed.

Kang, who assumed his post on February 2016, is the first CIO unable to complete his two-year post, local media reported.

Earlier this month the pension fund reportedly fired its global alternatives investment head, Kim Jae-Sang, over an inaccuracy in his curriculum vitae and his work history. It was said that Kang stated in his CV he had served as an alternative investment head of South Korea’s Meritz Asset Management for three years. NPS later uncovered after verification checks he had worked for a unit of Meritz Asset for only one year instead of three years.

Choe Hyung-Don, former head of global private equity at NPS, is now the interim head of the fund's global alternatives division, according to a spokesperson.

The pension fund has been faced with a senior management shake-up after state prosecutors raided its headquarters and its state chairman Moon Hyung-Pyo was arrested as part of a corruption probe at the end of last year. NPS has also had more than 20 departures since 2016, following an announcement it would move its headquarters in Seoul to Jeonju.

Following an exodus of investment professionals, the world’s third-largest pension fund said it is actively looking for more external managers as it expands its overseas asset exposure. NPS opened offices in New York, London and Singapore in the last six years and expects to strengthen its presence in these regions.

In it latest annual report, NPS said its global alternatives portfolio returned 12.34 percent, compared with its domestic alternatives portfolio which had generated 5.74 percent.

The pension fund’s allocation to alternatives had grown to 11.4 percent of its total assets, increasing by KRW 9 trillion ($7.98 billion; €7.13 billion) year-on-year to KRW 63.7 trillion for fiscal 2016.

The story has been updated to show Cho In-Sik and Choe Hyun-Don's appointments.