Korea Investment Corporation has chosen Kang Shinwoo, formerly president and chief executive of Hanwha Asset Management, as its fifth chief investment officer, according to several media reports.
This follows the appointment of Kim Sangjoon as the $91 billion sovereign wealth fund’s new chief operating officer last week. Most recently he was head of KIC’s London office for two years and has been with the fund since 2010, and before that he worked with Samsung Life and Barclays Korea.
The fund is still seeking a chief risk officer and is understood to be planning to split out a compliance officer post from the CRO role. It advertised for the CRO role last month with a March 21 deadline for submissions.
These moves are part of a shake-up by KIC’s new chairman and chief executive, Eun Sung-Soo, who was appointed in January. In February the CIO, COO and CRO all stepped down, in changes seen to be drawing a line under the controversial tenure of ‘Hank’ Ahn Hong-chul. Ahn left the fund in November, a year before his contract had been due to finish. The fund had violated internal guidelines on his watch, as reported.
The former COO, Kim Young, had been re-appointed last year, having assumed the role in September 2011. The incumbent CRO, Hong Taegki, took up the role in April 2012 and was re-appointed in April 2015; he had worked from 1978 to 2012 at Bank of Korea.
The recruitment process for the new CIO and COO has been relatively quick, having only started last month, amid expectations it would take at least three months to find replacements.
It is thought that four local professionals were selected in the final short list for CIO. Kang reportedly achieved the highest score, and his appointment is expected to be approved by the government.
KIC declined to confirm or comment.
Kim Young-Hyun will reportedly replace Kang as CEO of Hanwha AM, having formerly been head of alternative investments at the firm. Hanwha AM could not be reached for confirmation of this by press time.
It is understood that Eun was in favour of picking a CIO from the local asset management industry rather than from the public sector. Choo Heungsik, the incumbent CIO, was hired in 2014 from Bank of Korea, where he was head of reserve management. The central bank is one of KIC's main backers.
If approved, Kang’s appointment would represent the first time a local individual with commercial background will have taken the CIO role.
Kang has been CEO at Hanwha AM since 2011, before which he has worked at Korea Investment Management, Dongbang Peregrin, Hyundai Investment Trust, US fund house Franklin Templeton, Goodmorning Asset Management and PCA Asset Management.