The new head of LS Asset Management in Korea is eager to open a dialogue with foreign fund houses about launching co-branded fund solutions as it looks to branch out into the retail market.
Lee Yun Kyu, former CIO of the $11 billion Korea Teachers Pension Fund (KTPF) who became LSAM chief executive on June 12, notes the firm has a heavy institutional client base and has hitherto focused strongly on index-related equity products.
But he says he is looking to change this, providing exposure to overseas securities, including alternative investments such as hedge funds, real estate and private equity.
“LS Asset Management has too much of an institutional focus and we have no overseas products,” he tells AsianInvestor.
Of its $2.6 billion in assets, about $1 billion is in equity index products. The rest is in other domestic equity and fixed income securities, structured asset classes and money-market funds.
Lee’s initial goal is to increase the firm’s assets under management to $3.2 billion by the end of this year. To achieve this, he plans to expand its retail business and start launching global fund products.
“We are thinking about collaborating with foreign asset managers that can offer niche products. If we can come to an agreement and team up, we can distribute such products on a co-branded basis in Korea.”
Lee indicates the firm is looking to make offshore managed products available, including hedge funds, funds of hedge funds, structured real estate funds and even private equity funds.
“We are keen to open dialogue with overseas asset managers,” he says. “It will be a whole new ball game going forwards.”
Lee has a 30-year career history. Prior to joining LS last year, he spent five years as CIO of KTPF, which was subsequently renamed Teachers’ Pension.
During his tenure at KTPF Lee picked up AsianInvestor’s award for CIO of the year in Korea in 2011, while KTPF won our Korean institutional investor of the year award in 2012. In the past four years, KTPF has recorded an average annual return of 6.7%.
Lee was hired by KTPF in April 2008, having previously worked as vice-chief executive of Dongbu Asset Management. Prior to that he was CIO of Korea Trust Management Company.
Park Min Ho, who was team head of the strategy department, replaced Lee as CIO in late May.
LS AM is one of 50 subsidiaries of LS Group. It was established in 2000 as Delta Investment Advisory Company under CEO Hwang Yoon-Ha, who is now serving as a full-time adviser to the firm.