China’s Silk Road Fund, dedicated to Belt and Road projects, has launched a recruitment drive to hire up to 12 positions following a Rmb80 billion ($11.2 billion) capital injection from the government in October.
The Silk Road Fund in a recruitment notice published on November 20 outlined plans to hire eight investment managers as well as four mid-to-back office professionals across risk management, auditing, international cooperation and general administration.
The public job posting comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement at the Third Belt and Road Forum on October 18 of an additional Rmb80 billion allocation to the Silk Road Fund, providing more funding for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.
With the new injection of funds, Silk Road Fund’s total assets under management reached $65.3 billion, including $40 billion and Rmb180 billion ($25.3 billion).
“It makes sense for the fund to hire more people after receiving new capital to be able to make new investments,” said a Beijing-based senior executive at a foreign bank.
The executive highlighted one hiring requirement - that several investment and mid-to-back office roles require candidates with expertise in due diligence, auditing and risk management throughout the entire investment lifecycle.
“This is similar to other financial institutions in the mainland. In addition to regular investment, everyone is strengthening auditing, compliance, and due diligence in the investment process…So, the fund must need more professionals to address that,” the executive told AsianInvestor, referring to the macro environment of tightening regulation on financial institutions in China.
Of the eight investment positions, the fund is seeking three people dedicated to investment and project management in various domains across infrastructure, energy, new energy, carbon neutrality, logistics, industrial manufacturing, healthcare, hard technology and consumption investing.
Applicants need to have up to five years of experience related to overseas investments, and preferably with experience in direct investments, private equity fund management, or in-depth knowledge of BRI participating countries.
It also has open positions for two investment managers for private equity funds and direct investment research, analysis, and post-investment management.
The other three investment-related roles are for portfolio and risk management, including on-site due diligence, ESG research, and assistance in asset restructuring, allocation adjustment, and project exit.
Silk Road Fund didn’t respond to an AsianInvestor enquiry for comment. It is unclear how many people the fund has in its investment team currently.
Amid the backdrop of layoffs and corporate restructuring in the financial industry, the executive who spoke on condition of anonymity to AsianInvestor believes it won’t be difficult to hire new people in general.
However, with the age limit -- all the positions require candidates to be under 35 "in principle" -- it is difficult to assess whether the fund will be able to hire people with the requisite skills and experience.
“Market volatility, artificial intelligence and climate change are having a higher impact on investment portfolios, making it harder to generate alpha. It is an opportune time for funds with long-term vision to re-think their positioning and use of resources to be the future winner,” said Janet Li, chief executive officer of BEA Union Investment Management.
“For new areas like AI, energy transition and sustainable development, continuous development of new talents and mastering of new skillset will be essential. There will be fewer ready solutions and precedent to follow,” Li told AsianInvestor.
UBS estimates that annual infrastructure demand from Belt and Road countries may reach $1-$2 trillion.
During the Belt and Road summit in Beijing in October, Xi said the country will offer more financing for BRI projects, especially those that are “small and beautiful”, with a stronger emphasis on environmental and social responsibilities.
Besides the additional funding to the Silk Road Fund, the country’s two policy banks, China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China, will each set up Rmb350 billion ($49.2 billion) financing windows.
Based in Beijing, Silk Road Fund was established in late 2014 as a limited company to invest in BRI projects, with capital from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank.
It recently set up a $2-billion joint investment platform with Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Exchange Fund, focusing on energy transition, infrastructure, and other ESG-related investments in Belt and Road countries.