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[Exclusive] Sovereign wealth funds

Former KIC real estate head to serve as ADQ's chief investment officer

Cha Hoon, who resigned from KIC around a month ago, is moving to Abu Dhabi's state holding company

By Dec 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Cha Hoon, former real estate head of KIC, moves to ADQ to serve as CIO
Cha Hoon, former real estate head of KIC, moves to ADQ to serve as CIO

Cha Hoon, the former head of real estate investment at Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) is moving to Abu Dhabi’s state holding firm Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADQ) as chief investment officer, sources with knowledge of the matter told The Korea Economic Daily. Cha is the first Korean to become a CIO of a sovereign wealth fund in the Middle East, although Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) promoted its former Asia head Suyi Kim to global chief of private equity business in September. 

Cha resigned from the South Korean sovereign wealth fund around early November, just three months after he was appointed as real estate team head in a senior shuffle of KIC in August. Before joining KIC in December 2012, Cha worked for The Carlyle Group from 2007 to 2012 and Goldman Sachs from 2005 to 2007.  

ADQ didn’t respond to The Korea Economic Daily regarding Cha’s inauguration.

Founded in 2018, ADQ is United Arab Emirates' third-largest sovereign wealth fund with $110 billion assets under management. It has been investing in more than 90 companies to accelerate UAE's transformation into a globally competitive and knowledge-based economy. ADQ’s portfolio has diverse sectors including utilities, tourism and hospitality, aviation, transport, logistics, industries, real estate, media, food and agriculture, healthcare and financial services.

For the past year, ADQ has hired scores of investment bankers from Western banks as it accelerates dealmaking in the UAE and overseas, according to Reuters in September. The number of employees of ADQ was around 20 last year and is now over 120, according to the report.

Meanwhile, KIC saw 11 professionals of its alternative investment division resign from the Korean sovereign wealth fund so far this year. The number of alternative investment division resignees was nine in 2017, seven in 2018, six in 2019 and four in 2020.
Korea's National Pension Service (NPS), the world’s third-largest pension fund with 918.7 trillion won in AUM, saw its former real estate investment head Kim Hyun-Soo leave in November and infrastructure investment head Kim Jee-Yeon tender her resignation the same month. Salary competition for alternative investment experts is driving the outflow of professionals, pension fund sources said.

Write to Jihyun Kim at

Jihyun Kim edited this article.
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