It’s been a tale of differing recruitment fortunes recently for two South Korean state funds, according to media reports. 

The Public Officials Benefit Association (Poba) struck success this month in appointing a new chief investment officer (CIO), while the country’s Police Mutual Aid Association (PMAA) is struggling to find someone to fill the same role. 

Poba appointed Jang Dong-hun, formerly senior executive managing director of Woori Asset Management, as its new investment chief. He is understood to have left Woori AM when Kiwoom AM acquired his former employer. 

Jang is expected to start his three year-term in charge of asset management of the $6.3 billion pension fund for provincial civil servants this month, once the minister of the interior grants final approval. Until then Hyun Bong-Oh, CIO for the past three years, remains in the post. AsianInvestor could not ascertain his next role by press time.

It is understood there were 23 applicants for the position, and local professionals said Poba made the decision through a fair and open recruitment process.

Poba started recruiting for the role on September 25, stipulating as a requirement multiple years of experience as a professional manager serving the mutual aid association segment. Set up in 1952, Poba has around 250,000 members. 

Before joining Woori AM, Jang worked for regulatory body the Financial Supervisory Service. He has also worked for SK Investment Management and Woori Investment & Securities.

Jang started his career in 1988 at Korea Investment Management, where he was known for the successful Jang Dong-hun Fund, which reportedly returned 30% in six months since its inception in 1999.

Meanwhile, the PMAA is having trouble finding a qualified candidate to act as CIO. The incumbent’s term came to an end on September 22, though Kim Yun-hwan is required to continue in the role until a successor is appointed. 

The police pension fund told the press on November 5 that one police superintendent in active service was recommended as a single candidate but the board of representatives rejected the appointment.

As a result, the PMAA is reportedly considering appointing an asset management specialist in a newly created post as chief financial investment officer and naming a candidate from the police as CIO.

It is understood that the PMAA has traditionally put an ex-member of the police force in the CIO role. However, critics argue that this means the individual will lack expertise in financial investment yet holds full authority over portfolio decisions. 

One official from the 100,000-member PMAA was quoted as saying: “We can start a recruiting process right now. But we are not likely to have another applicant for CIO because one candidate has already been rejected for the position. The articles of association allow creating three executive positions, including CFIO, but we are not sure how things will turn out.”