NPS to hire first foreign investment staff

The Korean institutional investor is reportedly in the process of hiring foreign nationals for its global investment teams in New York, London, and its soon to be opened office in Singapore.  

The KRW 469 trillion (€380 billion; $427 billion) Korean state pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS) of Korea, is looking to hire foreign fund managers for its global investment teams. This will be the first time the state investor would have foreign nationals as employees.

“In existing offices, employees engaged only in basic data investigation, including information gathering,” an official from NPS told Korean news website BusinessKorea. “However, we will hire experts and specialize in the future, based on alternative investments such as real estate and funds.”

The website further added that as many as four foreigners will be added to its staff of 65 people in the first quarter of this year.

PERE has also learnt that NPS will be opening an overseas office in Singapore by July this year, its first branch office in Asia. This will be the institutional real estate investor’s third overseas office, following the London and New York divisions, which were launched in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

The move comes amid NPS’s plans of ramping up its overseas investments and increasing its exposure to real estate. As of the third quarter of last year, KRW 94 trillion – close to 20 percent of the fund’s total holdings- were invested in overseas markets in equities, fixed-income securities and alternatives. The firm plans to increase this to 25 percent by 2019. For alternatives, the firm has announced an allocation target of 11.5 percent by 2015, up from the current 9.7 percent.

In November 2014, NPS purchased the EC Mall in Beijing as part of the investment mandate awarded to The Carlyle Group in 2013. The prominent shopping mall spread over 600,000 square feet is understood to have been acquired for RMB 2.4 billion (€ 341 million; $382.8 million) from InfraRed Capital Partners, which owned the property together with the Singapore-based property firm Metro Group.

It also provided a third mandate to Rockspring Property Investment Managers of $300 million in July last year, taking the total capital commitment to the London-based real estate investment manager to €1 billion. The capital is to be invested in value-add strategies across Europe.