Partners Group, a Swiss-based private-equity investor with €20 billion ($26.4 billion) of assets under management, is entering Korea’s private money management market by opening a representative office in Seoul.
Alex Cho, head of the new office, says its main function is client service to local institutional investors, including providing investment strategy and direction; and to seek out investment opportunities in the local market.
Partners Group (PG) manages both funds and separate accounts worldwide in private equity, private debt, private real estate and private infrastructure.
Among its strategies is a $1 billion programme dedicated to Asia-Pacific. It is now setting up another Asia-dedicated strategy, with Korea an important destination for its capital. The firm will look to invest in cooperation with local partners.
The firm’s strategies don’t specialise in particular industries. The strategy is to look at individual companies’ fundamental competitive advantages. For example, PG likes the green-energy story and is looking to support new growth initiatives in Korea that have the backing of the government.
PG is no stranger to the country. It is the first global PE firm to have received a mandate from the Korea Investment Corporation, the sovereign wealth fund, when KIC began investing in 2008.
Media reports say KIC’s initial $100 million allocation has been fully invested by PG, and that KIC’s total commitment to PG is now $200 million.
Cho would not comment on the size of KIC’s mandate, but says: “PG is also currently investing in real estate and other attractive investment opportunities on behalf of KIC.”
Cho says that PG is fully aware of the fact that Korean institutional investors are increasing their investments abroad, and hence PG is in the process of aggressively expanding and growing its presence in Korea.
Cho has been involved in private equity business since 1996. Prior to joining PG in 2008, he worked as an investment principal at Korea Venture Investment Corporation, focusing on investments in Korean private-equity funds as well as buyout funds in Asia.
Partners Group was established in 1996 in Zug, Switzerland, and has 11 offices around the globe. It has built a track record of investing in around 400 global private funds through both primary and secondary investments.