South Korea’s $7.2 billion Military Mutual Aid Association (MMAA) has appointed a new chief investment officer with overseas experience in the shape of Seok-Hwan Park.
He took up his post on December 29, having joined from Capstone Asset Management in Seoul, where he ran asset management and investments. His initial three-year term is extendable.
Park was picked in a public recruitment campaign from more than 30 candidates after former incumbent Jin Yeong-Ho quit to join BNG Securities as its chief executive officer, a post he took up on January 9.
It comes just two months after the military pension fund heralded the arrival of a new chairman, Kim Jin-Hoon, also for a three-year term. Similarly he was given the job following a public recruitment process after his predecessor, Yang Won-mo, retired early for health reasons, local media reported.
Asked his views on MMAA’s investment strategy, Park told AsianInvestor he was not ready to discuss his intentions for portfolio rebalancing or target returns until he got his feet under the desk and become more familiar with the association’s present portfolio.
However, traditionally MMAA has focused on large-scale housing developments, construction and real estate projects via private equity funds.
The association was established in 1984 to ensure the welfare of Korean military service personnel and related civilian members and currently has more than 170,000 members.
Chairman Kim said when he joined that its chief task was to ensure stability for members through its asset management strategy while being flexible as an organisation at the same time. He did note, though, that global economic sluggishness and a low interest-rate environment were long-term phenomena.
Park started his career with Korea Investment and Trust, which subsequently became Korea Investment Management, after which he was seconded to join Barclays Global Investors in Hong Kong for four years.
He has also worked for investment advisory firm MegaMidas, Sun Asset and Shinhan Investment Trust. Park graduated from Sogang University in Seoul with a major in business administration.