Korea Post has moved its deputy director Sehyeong Seong to the US to oversee its investments abroad, PERE has learned.
The Sejong, Korea-based postal agency declined to comment, but PERE understands that Seong moved to New York late last month. He will be the representative for Korea Post’s investment office in New York, which opened in mid-2015 and includes two other investment managers.
All three investment professionals will be covering all US alternative investments, including real estate, on behalf of Korea Post’s savings and insurance divisions. Additionally, Seong will be overseeing all of the overseas investments of both groups.
Seong began working with Korea Post in 2012, when he joined the risk management team of Korea Post Insurance. He then moved to the alternative investments team of Korea Post Savings in 2014, covering real estate, hedge funds and structured products, among others.
The postal giant has been active in real estate debt overseas, having reportedly awarded approximately $436 million in real estate debt mandates to three US managers in 2016. Its equity investments include a 47 percent stake on 7 West 34th Street; an office and retail building in New York City through a managed account with CBRE Global Investors; and the Natixis headquarters building in Paris, purchased in 2016 through an account with La Française Real Estate Partners.
During a panel discussion at PERE Seoul in December, Seong said that with real estate prices and interest rates rising, Korea Post was seeking to diversify its investment portfolio and was interested in pursuing opportunities in the Nordic countries as well as logistics and student housing.
Korea Post is one of the few Korean institutional investors with an overseas location in the US. The National Pension Service of Korea also has a New York office, which it opened in 2013.
Korea Post is a government agency associated with South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy, employing 32,000 workers across approximately 2,800 post offices in the country. In addition to postal services, Korea Post also offers financial services to the general public through its savings and insurance programs. The agency’s postal savings fund management team and postal insurance asset management team are responsible for overseeing all deposits and insurance payments. Korea Post invests primarily in government bonds and other low-risk assets, but also pursues opportunities in credit, stocks and alternative assets such as real estate.
The institution currently has approximately $110 billion of assets under management, with more than $2 billion in real estate.