Korea’s NPS hires new global alternatives head

The world’s third-largest pension fund is actively hiring investment professionals in its overseas offices.

South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) has appointed Jang Sae Kim as its new global alternatives head, PERE's sister publication, Private Debt Investor, reported last week.

Kim joined the pension fund from a real estate investment firm in Korea. Prior to that, he was the alternative investment head of South Korea’s Meritz Asset Management. He also worked at ABN AMRO Asset Management, Schroders and BNP Paribas previously, according to a local news report.

Kim’s predecessor, Sang-Hyun Yoo, who had been with the fund for more than 10 years since joining in 2007, decided to resign in February this year in the latest wave of key personnel departures from the organisation.

NPS confirmed the appointment but declined to comment further.

The fund has also named domestic equity head, In-Sik Cho, as head of global public markets, after the departure of former head Kyung Jik Lee earlier this year.

Over the past year, the pension fund has suffered a tumultuous time, leading to a reshuffle of its senior management. At the end of last year, the headquarters of the world's third-largest pension fund was raided by prosecutors.

The fund’s chairman, Moon Hyung-Pyo, was arrested by a South Korean special prosecution team amid investigations into an influence-peddling scandal involving recently impeached South Korean president Park Geun-hye.

Following a recent outflow of investment professionals, the $462 billion pension fund is currently undergoing an active hiring process as it expands its overseas asset allocation. It opened offices in New York, London and Singapore in 2011, 2012 and 2015 respectively to strengthen its presence in these regions.

Earlier this week, the fund said it was looking for portfolio managers for its London office to overlook the fund’s real estate, infrastructure and private equity businesses respectively, according to its website.

In January, NPS bought a 27.6 percent stake in Manhattan's One Vanderbilt Avenue, a New York office development, PERE previously reported. Dallas-based real estate investor Hines also purchased a 1.4 percent stake in the project, from New York-based real estate investment trust SL Green. The new equity holders have committed a total of $525 million.