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Best Asset Managers by Korean Investors 2020

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers

By Jan 21, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Canada-based Brookfield was chosen as the best global asset manager for both real estate and infrastructure investments by South Korea’s pension funds and other major institutional investors, a survey shows.

Along with Brookfield, Australia-based Macquarie was ranked the top global infrastructure manager in a poll of 20 Korean institutional investors conducted recently by The Korea Economic Daily Global Edition (KED Global).

HarbourVest Partners and Hamilton Lane topped the list of private equity managers, while Ares Management and Olympus Capital Asia were named the best private debt general partners (GPs).

For hedge funds, Citadel and Balyasny Asset Management (BAM) were picked as the best managers by Korean limited partners (LPs).

KED Global, a premium multilanguage business news provider, carried out the survey at the end of last year to determine Korean LPs' preferred global asset managers across five asset classes. The Best Asset Managers by Korean Investors 2020 awards were based on the survey.

Click on the logo below to redirect to the Best Asset Managers by Korean Investors page.

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers


The respondents, including the National Pension Service (NPS) and Korea Investment Corp. (KIC), were asked to pick the best GPs across these asset classes: private equity; private debt; real estate; infrastructure; and hedge funds in terms of performance, communication and client services.
The subcategory awards focused on specific criteria. Best Performance was based on outperforming managers in terms of risk-adjusted returns. Best Communication was awarded to GPs who kept LPs updated on their portfolios and risk in the most effective and transparent manner. The Best Client Service award was given to GPs who best provided services tailored to LPs' needs.

By asset class, GPs who received the most votes across the board were selected Best of the Best.

To prevent big-name houses from dominating the awards, GPs were separated into two categories: large-cap and mid-cap firms.

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers


Brookfield won the most votes among large-cap managers of both real estate and infrastructure. With $575 billion in assets under management, its Korean portfolio includes the International Finance Center in Yeouido

Blackstone, which oversees $584 billion in assets, was picked the best performer among large-cap real estate GPs. The US investment firm also stood out in the private debt and infrastructure segments, winning the awards of Best Client Service for private debt and Best Communication for infrastructure.

Among large-cap real estate managers, both CBRE Global Investors and Angelo Gordon were jointly awarded the Best Communication award. Germany’s Patrizia received the Best Client Service award.

In the category of mid-cap real estate GPs, Los Angeles-based PCCP LLC was picked Best of the Best. PCCP focuses on senior and mezzanine debts in small- to medium-sized commercial buildings, as well as value-add investments.

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers


Macquarie received the same amount of votes as Brookfield and was jointly awarded Best of the Best infrastructure manager.

Australia’s AMP Capital was ranked the best performer among large-cap firms. The UK-based Schroders and Strategic Partners, a secondary investment firm of Blackstone, was chosen for Best Communication. France's Antin Infrastructure Partners was awarded Best Client Service.

Among mid-cap GPs, Equitix was awarded Best of the Best, followed by InfraRed Capital Partners who won Best Performance. Through the two UK investment firms, NPS, POBA and Korean insurers, including Hyundai Merchant, invested in the operator of London Orbital Motorway, or M25, as well as Britain’s High Speed 1 (HS1).

The Best Communication award for mid-cap infrastructure GPs went to Actis, a UK-based private equity firm focusing on emerging markets’ infrastructure assets, along with Australia’s Queensland Investment Corp (QIC). Starwood Energy, a division of the US real estate investment firm Starwood Capital, was picked for Best Client Service.

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers


Lexington Partners was the best performer among large-cap PE managers. The US investment firm specializes in secondary acquisition and co-investment deals, as do HarbourVest Partners and Hamilton Lane, who jointly received the Best of the Best award.

KKR and Ardian were picked for Best Communication and Best Client Service, respectively. Of the above-mentioned five PE houses, four GPs (excluding KKR) are fund of funds (FoF) managers, indicating Korean pension funds and insurers continued to invest in PE deals through FoFs.

Among mid-cap PE managers, StepStone Group and Pantheon were awarded Best Performance and Best Communication, respectively. They are also FoF managers. The US-based Värde Partners won the Best Client Service prize as a mid-cap PE house. As a credit investor, Värde boasts strong deal sourcing capabilities for PE investments in financial services companies.

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers


The US-based Ares Management, a leading alternative credit manager with $16.5 billion under management, won the Best of Best award among large-cap private debt managers. Intermediate Capital Group (ICG), HPS Investment Partners and Blackstone Credit topped the lists for performance, communication and client services, respectively. 

Singapore-based Olympus Capital Asia was awarded Best of the Best mid-cap private debt house. It provides direct lending to mid-market Asian companies. The US-based Golub Capital topped the performance ranking among mid-cap private debt houses. In terms of communication, both GoldenTree Asset Management and Madison Capital Funding of New York Life Insurance topped the list. Permira Debt Managers, part of the UK-based PE firm Permira, won the Best Client Service award.

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers


Citadel, founded by US billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, was awarded Best Performance as a large-cap manager for absolute return strategies. Man Group, Europe's largest hedge fund, was chosen for Best Communication, with Canyon Partners and GoldenTree Asset Management jointly named for Best Client Service.

Canyon Partners is a multistrategy hedge fund house with a strong track record in distressed debt investments. GoldenTree, which was also picked as the Best Communication house for private debt, invests in high-yield debts and non-performing loans.

Among mid-cap hedge fund houses, Balyasny Asset Management was awarded Best of the Best. The Chicago-based company runs multistrategy funds, employing long/short equity, macro and event-driven strategies.

Starboard Value, a successful US activist investor, and Asia-focused PAG were picked as Best Communication hedge fund GPs.

Korean LPs pick their 44 favorite alternative managers

* Respondents to this survey include: 

National Pension Service of Korea
Korea Investment Corporation
Korean Teachers’ Pension
Government Employees Pension Service
Korean Teachers’ Credit Union 
Public Officials Benefit Association
Military Mutual Aid Association
Police Mutual Aid Association
National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NongHyup)
Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance
Kyobo Life Insurance
Hanwha Life Insurance
Hana Life Insurance
Lotte Non-life Insurance
ABL Life Insurance
Prudential Life Insurance

Write to Chang Jae Yoo at

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.
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