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Korea’s NPS loses acting CIO

Acting chief investment officer Cho In-sik has said he will quit the National Pension Service of Korea, amid a second round of recruitment for the CIO position.

The National Pension Service of Korea‘s acting chief investment officer, Cho In-sik, has said he will resign, a spokesman from the pension fund has confirmed to PERE’s sister title Private Debt Investor, again leaving NPS without a key investment decision-maker.

The spokesman said Cho is on leave and declined to provide additional details. It is unclear whether NPS has accepted Cho’s resignation.

Cho, who also heads the state fund’s offshore securities division, stepped in as acting CIO after the CIO at the time Kang Myeon-wook resigned for personal reasons in July 2017.

Cho was head of risk management from 2014 to March 2016 and head of domestic equity investment from March 2016 to May 2017.

The 634.6 trillion won ($565 billion; €489 billion) pension fund started a recruitment process in February this year but could not find a qualified candidate, as reported by Private Equity International. NPS failed to select a new CIO from 16 applicants and started a new recruitment process on 27 June, according to a statement.

NPS’s head of domestic equities Che Jun-kyu was dismissed on 2 July after a valuation research conducted in July 2015 held him accountable for the pension fund’s decision to back the controversial merger of two Samsung Group units in 2015. This was disclosed to NPS’ internal audit report which was published on 3 July.

NPS has seven investment asset management divisions, according to its annual report: investment strategy, investment operation, domestic equity, domestic fixed income, domestic alternative investment, global public market, and global alternative investment. It also has one risk management centre and three overseas offices in New York, London and Singapore.

The pension fund plans to allocate 12.7 percent or 92.6 trillion Korean won to global alternative investments by end-2019, according to a public disclosure from the Ministry of Health and Welfare that oversees the pension fund on 30 May. The pension fund allocated more than 67 trillion won to alternatives as of end-April.