South Korea’s $7 billion Government Employees Pension Service (GEPS) has appointed veteran government official Ahn Yang Ho as its new chairman.

Ahn’s three-year term became effective on September 4. He succeeds Kim Jin Man, who retired after beginning as GEPS chairman just two weeks before the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers sent global financial markets into a downward spiral.

Ahn has been a government official since 1991 and most recently served as vice-minister of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, which administers GEPS. A graduate of Korea University, he completed his masters degree from the London School of Economics in 1989.

Speaking publicly about his new role, Ahn said he felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to protect civil servants’ savings, given the volatile global investment environment.

“I will make sure GEPS communicates effectively with other government entities to ensure the most efficient operations,” he noted. “GEPS will become more trustworthy and inspire greater confidence in government employees about the long-term management of their pensions.”

GEPS was founded in 1960 to provide annuities and other benefits to civil servants. It has seen its AUM rise almost 26% over the past year to around $7.3 billion, according to annual figures published this July in AsianInvestor’s list of Asia ex-Japan’s top 200 institutional investors.

Last year GEPS announced it was seeking foreign partners to collaborate on asset management and trading for its fund management professionals. It also declared it was seeking to expand its foreign investment portfolio, particularly to emerging market equity and commodity funds.

Its portfolio at that time was almost two-thirds fixed-income focused, but it had firm plans to increase its equity investments and lower its allocation to bonds.

Kee Hyuk Do of GEPS was among the speakers at AsianInvestor’s fifth annual Korea Institutional Investment Forum, staged at the Westin Chosun in Seoul this summer. To view our picture gallery from the event, click here.

GEPS is one of four Korean public pension entities, along with National Pension Service (NPS), Korea Teachers Pension Fund (KTPF), and the Military Mutual Aid Association (MMAA).