Sovereign wealth fund Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) is expanding its ESG and alternative investment teams in its biggest hiring program in six years, with a total of 22 new investment and operational roles being offered.

One member will be added to its newly established sustainable investment team, while eight others will be fund managers in infrastructure, private equity, hedge funds, and private debt. Fixed income, equity investment, and operational roles are also on offer, KIC announced on its website on September 7.

The recruitment program was announced after KIC reshuffled senior investment executives and launched its first dedicated ESG team on August 24. It is in line with new chief executive Jin Seoung-ho’s vision to expand alternative investments and enhance responsible investments, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

ALSO READ: KIC launches first dedicated ESG team amid senior executive reshuffle

"We will strengthen investment capability to better cope with changes in the macroeconomic environment and global markets," Jin said in a statement.

INVESTMENT GOALS

The newly established sustainable investment team currently has three members, including team head Choi Jin-suk. Aiming at adding one more, KIC requires the new ESG expert to have over two years of experience in responsible investment, ESG analysis, and stewardship activity. The person will also be trusted to manage ESG partnerships.

Jin said during a September 2 ESG conference in Seoul that KIC will start actively exercising voting rights and participate in shareholder engagement in overseas investments. It will begin doing so early next year, AsianInvestor understands.

For the alternative investment team expansion, KIC will hire three managers in private equity at or below senior level. Three infrastructure managers will also be onboarded. Two positions will be at the director or senior level, and will be responsible for sourcing and executing infrastructure opportunities via direct investments, indirect investments, and co-investments.

KIC will also hire a new member to conduct absolute return investing in hedge funds and private debt. The person will be in charge of market research, investment planning, due diligence, and investment monitoring and exits.

Meanwhile, it is in hunt for a risk management executive to monitor alternative investments and conduct due diligence, risk analysis, and reporting on potential investments in private assets, including private equity, real estate, and infrastructure.

The Korean fund managed $195.7 billion in assets as of end May, including 16.1% in alternative assets. It has a target of raising alternatives allocation to 20% by 2024, and to more than 25% by 2027.

DREAM TEAM

In other openings, KIC is hiring one investment manager for global equities, and one for fixed income, as well as other operational roles for corporate strategy, information technology, and audit.  

Notably, KIC sets up one position at or below senior level in big data analysis to help manage its global equity portfolio.

A newly created position to lead the fund’s institutional relations with the Korean legislature National Assembly is also being offered. The position requires over seven years of relevant expertise – the most experience demanded in the hiring program.

KIC expects the role to manage its relationship with the National Assembly, draft policy suggestions, research and respond to related acts or subordinate statutes and system improvements, and build and maintain a database related to National Assembly activities.

All 22 positions are newly created and will be based in KIC’s headquarters in Seoul. The application review will start in late September, followed by two rounds of interviews. Final results will be announced in late November.

In separate hiring news, KIC is also looking for a private equity analyst in funds and co-investments for its London office, it announced in mid-August.

As of end June, KIC had about 300 employees, including approximately 120 portfolio managers, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.