The $11 billion Korea Teachers Pension Fund (KTPF), one of the nation’s two pension entities for teachers, has named veteran government education officer Byun Chang-Yull as its new chairman.
Byun takes the helm for the next three years, having started officially this week. He has worked his way up the ranks in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. In fact, he has spent his entire career as a government education officer after graduating from Seoul National University.
He takes over from Joo Sung Do, the former CEO of National Information & Credit Evaluation (Nice), whose three-year term expired on September 25 this year. Joo is reported by local media to be retiring.
Byun will be tasked with maintaining performance at the KTPF, which earlier this year was chosen as the best performing of all Korean pension funds by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. The KTFP returned 10.5% overall in 2010, and 12.7% in 2009.
Just last year the chief of PTPF’s fund management operation, Lee Yun-kyu, told AsianInvestor it would become more aggressive in equity and alternative investments, both domestically and globally.
The KTPF was among Korean asset owners forced to focus on investment risk by the global financial crisis and so cut back on overseas investment programmes. But when prices fell, it moved quickly to buy both equities and fixed income. Lee said it also maintained its position in emerging market equities throughout the crisis.
Originally the KTPF, which was established in 1974 to provide security to private school personnel, signed its first strategic partnership for overseas investments with Goldman Sachs Asset Management in 2008 prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers that sparked turmoil in financial markets.
That deal was to manage W300 billion in equities – its first foray into overseas equities markets – fixed income and alternatives until 2011. It also included professional training to enhance the fund’s investment capabilities.
The KTPF quickly signed a second strategic partnership with ING Investment Management in 2008 to manage W200 billion, having received proposals from 16 foreign asset management companies operating in Korea at that time.
Just last month, the KTPF announced plans to invest W54 billion ($46 million) into between three and five domestic venture capital and private equity funds. It comes as private equity is becoming more established in the country.