US-based fund house BlackRock has appointed Lee Jeong Hoon from Fortress Investment Group as head of its alternative investment strategy group for North Asia.
Based in Seoul, Lee joined on January 8 in this newly created position to strengthen the firm’s burgeoning alts platform in North Asia, as well as to develop regional investment opportunities for global clients. He reports to Joseph Pacini, head of the alts strategy group for Asia-Pacific.
BlackRock manages some $113 billion in alternative assets globally, of which it says more than 20% comes from Asia-Pacific. While alternative investment represents just 3% of its global AUM of $3.67 trillion, it has been put on a fast track for growth.
In a statement, Pacini says the hire of Lee underscores its ambition of bolstering its capabilities “in markets where we see growth potential”. He adds that he is seeking “growth momentum” for its alts businesses across the region.
“As alternatives vie to become part of the new mainstream in Asia, we are focused on bringing investment opportunities outside the region to our Asian clients as well as focusing on emerging opportunities in Asia for our global clients,” Pacini says.
Previously Lee was head of the Fortress Investment Group in Seoul. Before that he was at Darby Private Equity, a subsidiary of Franklin Templeton Investments.
His appointment comes after BlackRock moved to strengthen its alts team last year. It hired Pacini from JP Morgan Private Bank in March, as reported. Subsequently it named Andrew Landman as head of alternatives in Australia.
BlackRock has a presence across the hedge fund, private equity and real estate sectors, as well as exposure to special situations, currencies and commodities.
It is not well established in the region’s private equity market, where it is playing catch-up against the likes of Carlyle Group, KKR and TPG Capital. But it has been making partnerships to invest in specific markets.
In January last year, BlackRock announced an alliance with Indian financial services firm DSP Group to launch a PE fund targeting mid-sized firms in the sub-continent.
More recently it formed a joint venture with sovereign fund China Investment Corporation (CIC) to invest in PE deals on the mainland and globally. Pacini declined to comment on the CIC partnership last year in a sit-down interview with AsianInvestor, but noted that “global investors outside of the region clearly see China as a continued growth engine”.