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Pension funds

KIC, Korean pension funds in hunt for new C-level execs

Mar 17, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

KIC Chief Executive Choi Heenam
KIC Chief Executive Choi Heenam

South Korea's Police Mutual Aid Association (PMAA) has been looking for a new chief investment officer for a half year, while the sovereign wealth fund Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) and the Military Mutual Aid Association (MMAA) have just kicked off their C-level executive selection process. 

Another retirement fund Korea Scientists & Engineers Mutual-aid Association will likely join them soon to find the successor of CIO Huh Sung-moo whose two-year term is expiring next month.

In the second half, the National Pension Service (NPS), which manages $740 billion in assets, is expected to launch the process to replace its CIO Ahn Hyo-joon. Ahn's two-year term was extended to early October of this year.

The simultaneous efforts by Korean pension funds to look for new CIOs came after the NPS and the MMAA extended their terms by one year to put their efforts into dealing with the fallout of the global pandemic. 

 S.Korean pension funds looking for new C-level execs 
 Institution  Progress
 Korea Investment Corporation  CEO term to end in March 2021. Applicants were shortlisted to three.
 Police Mutual Aid Association  CIO term ended in October 2020. Looking for candidates for five months
 Military Mutual Aid Association  CIO's extended four-year term to end in March 2021. Received applicants by Mar. 17.
 *Korea Scientists & Engineers Mutual-aid Association (SEMA)  CIO's term to expire in April 2021.
 *Government Employees Pension Service (GEPS)  CIO Seo Won-joo's term to expire in June 2021.
 National Pension Service  CIO's extended three-year term to end in early October 2021.
 Note: *Industry watchers expect the two-year term each of SEMA and GEPS' CIOs to be extended by another year.

KIC

KIC has recently shortlisted its CEO candidates to three, based on their application reviews and interviews, according to sources with knowledge of the matter on Mar. 17. 

The three finalists are Jin Seung-ho, ex-head of the Presidential Committee for Balanced National Development and Hong Seung-je, who had worked for the Bank of Korea and served as KIC's ex-chief risk officer between 2016 and 2019. 
The third candidate is Shin Eung-shik, an ex-Nomura managing director and head of Korean investment banking. Prior to Nomura, Shin had worked at Citibank and Barclays in Korea.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki will pick and recommend one of them to President Moon Jae-in for an appointment. 

POLICE FUND

The CIO post at the PMAA, a $3.7 billion savings fund for South Korean police officers, has been left vacant for almost five months, since the former CIO Lee Do-yoon retired at the end of October 2020. 

After its board of representatives turned down candidates for Lee's successor, the police fund will receive applications by Mar. 26. Before restarting the CIO selection process, it will appoint new chief executive officer at a Mar. 25 board meeting.

"Key positions at the police fund, including heads of financial investment, alternative investment and project development, have been empty for several months. They need to hurry up the hiring process," said one of the sources.

The Military Mutual Aid Association has received applications by Wednesday to replace its financial division chief Kim Jae-dong, whose extended four-year term is expiring this month.

(Amended on Mar. 24 to clarify KIC is set to replace CEO Choi Heenam whose three-year term is expiring at the end of March 2021.)

By Seon-Pyo Hong

rickey@hankyung.com 

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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