Pacific Star adds Korean pension pro

Kim Ho-Shik, the ousted former president of South Korea's $230bn National Pension Service, has joined the advisory board of the Singapore-based real estate investment firm.

Pacific Star Group, the Singapore real estate investor, has hired former Korean pension head Kim Ho-Shik to sit on its advisory board and guide the firm as it enters the Korean market. The appointment comes shortly after the firm opened an office in Seoul, which is headed by another former Korean official.

Kim was president and chief executive officer of South Korea's $230 billion (€152 billion) National Pension Service, the world's fifth-largest pension fund, until recently. In April, he and the chief information officer were asked to resign as part of changes made by South Korea's new president Lee Myung-bak. Following the parliamentary victory of the new president's Grand National Party in April, many ministerial and service sector heads were asked to resign. Korean institutional investors were not immune.

Before becoming president of the pension, Kim was minister for government policy coordination and minister of maritime affairs. He is currently an executive advisor to Korean real estate developer Shinyoung.

The hiring is part of Pacific Star's larger push into Korea. The firm recently opened an office in Seoul which is headed by another former official from the Korean government, Kim Daiyoung, former vice minister for construction. Kang Dong-suk, a former Korean minister of construction and transportation, also serves as a board director for the Seoul office.

Founded in 2000, Pacific Star has launched several real estate funds in the past two years. Last March, the firm launched the $800 million GOME Pacstar Fund with GOME Property Investments, owned by Chinese businessman Wong Kwong Yu, to invest in China. Six months later, it was followed by a €500 million vehicle with an HSH Nordbank subsidiary to acquire prime properties in the Asia Pacific region. Then in December last year it launched a $650 million Asia Real Estate Prime Development Fund, which had its first investment in Thailand. It also has a $600 million joint venture fund with Kuwait Finance House and a $500 million Vietnam joint venture fund with Israeli property holding company Alony Hetz.

The Seoul office was the second new location Pacific Star opened this year. In March, the firm opened Pacific Star Europe in Munich. At the same time, the firm launched a $2 billion Asia fund for European investors in partnership with German property entrepreneurs Matthias Sturmer and Dirk Grosse-Wordemann.

The group's other funds include the $600 million Baitak Asian Real Estate Fund – a joint venture between Pacific Star Group and Kuwait Finance House, and the €1.2 billion Asia Real Estate Income Fund. The group also launched the $2 billion Pacific Star Fund Select Concept targeting Asian real estate under an umbrella fund structure earlier this year.

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