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Ex-NPS investment strategy head to lead non-equity portfolios of Korean asset firm

Jul 27, 2016 (Gmt+09:00)

Yunpyo LeeA former investment strategy head of the National Pension Service (NPS), Yoon-pyo Lee, will move to South Korea’s Truston Asset Management Co. Ltd. next month to lead fixed-income and alternative investments of the independent fund house that runs 12 trillion won ($11 billion) of assets under management, the company said on July 26.

The appointment of Lee as the chief investment officer of Truston’s non-equity assets underlines the fund house’s move towards alternative investments, including real estate and social overhead capital projects, which have been drawing keen interest from Korean investors in the low interest rate era. Truston is considering transforming itself from an equity-specialized fund house into a multi asset management firm around next year.

Until last month, Lee had taken charge of investment strategy and led 20 trillion won worth of global alternative investments at the South Korean pension fund. “Mr. Lee is a top specialist in alternative investments after serving as global alternative investment head and investment strategy head at the National Pension Service’s investment management division from 2008,” said Sung Won Lee, a vice president of Truston. “Since he has experience in not only investments but in asset allocation strategy, we are expecting him to employ asset management strategy suitable for the multi asset era.”

With the joining of Lee, Truston is expected to further diversify investments from equity- and bond-oriented portfolio. The asset management firm has been touted as a frontrunner of the “first-generation hedge funds” in South Korea since it was founded in 1998 as IMM Investment Management. With a series of hit products that made a successful use of long/short strategy such as Truston Dynamic Korea 50 and Truston Dynamic Korea 30 funds, its AUM has swollen to 12 trillion won. However, a recent poor performance in its major funds’ has spurred money outflows from the fund house.

Truston’s President and co-CEO Sung Taek Hwang is planning aggressive reshuffling in his organization and introduction of various fund products. Hwang will continue to take charge of equity investments. At the asset management firm, Lee will take the helm of the fixed-income investment division to which seven fund managers belong and the recently-launched alternative investment (AI) division. Truston had already hired four AI specialists including Managing Director Kenneth Kang who had worked for accounting firm Deloitte Anjin to set up the AI division last May. Lee will also serve as vice president and co-chief executive officer of the asset management company, together with vice president and co-chief executive officer Young Ho Kim.

As its first alternative investment product, the asset management firm is studying an airplane-investing fund. It plans to offer the fund to institutional investors in a private placement and depending on reaction, it may introduce the fund to retail investors in the form of a fund of funds investing in private equity funds, or public offering fund.

By Hyunjin Lee


Yeonhee Kim edited this article

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