Korea's NPS starts search for new CIO

The $360 billion National Pension Service has started its search for a new investment head, as it seeks to increase assets by 67% over the next five years.
Korea's NPS starts search for new CIO

South Korea’s $360 billion state retirement fund is officially on the lookout for its next chief investment officer.

This comes as National Pension Service (NPS) seeks to boost its assets by 67% to $600 billion by 2018 on the back of an aggressive new allocation plan. It is already on track to surpass $390 billion by the year-end, which will make it the third largest pension fund in the world.

Current CIO Lee Chan-woo spent three years at the NPS, and his term is due to expire in October.

Newly appointed chairman Choi Kwang will head the search committee. NPS will consider candidates in Korea as well as overseas, including conducting searches remotely from its New York and London offices.

The ideal candidate will have global investment experience, including familiarity with overseas alternative investments. This fits in with the fund’s plans to increase its alternatives exposure to 11.3% by the end of 2014 from 8.4% at the end of 2012.

NPS's allocation plans also include raising domestic equity exposure to 20% from 18.7% and global equity investments to 10.5%, from 8%.

These shifts will be funded by paring its domestic fixed income allocation to 54.2%, from 60.2%, and global bond exposure to 4%, from 4.7%.

As of June 30, NPS’s alternative investment and global equity allocations both stood at 9%. The fund returned 7% in 2012.

Applications must be received by September 6, with a final decision due by October. The new CIO, who will be the NPS’s sixth since November 1999, will have a two-year term with a one-year extension granted for good performance.

In the last search, some 15 applicants were considered before NPS hired Lee. He was the first of its CIOs to see out the full three-year period.

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