Goldman Sachs Asset Management is well known in Korea for running large institutional portfolios, but does not yet have a retail presence. That may be set to change with the return of Terence Lim in the newly created post of co-chief executive.
Lim will work alongside co-CEO Kevin Cho to head GSAM's sales and marketing effort on both the institutional and retail side in Korea. Cho is chiefly a fixed-income portfolio manager who had also looked after the sales side while the firm's operations were being built out in Seoul following the acquisition of local asset manager Macquarie-IMM in 2007.
Lim returns from Sofaer Capital, where he'd been a partner and portfolio manager of the Sofaer Capital Pacific Hedge Fund since August 2008. The $500 million firm runs six fundamental equity long/short strategies, and its main offices are in Hong Kong and London. Lim's co-portfolio manager, Terence Khoo, assumes his responsibilities.
Before joining Sofaer, Lim spent more than seven years with Goldman Sachs in Asia, holding several positions, including co-Korea branch manager, head of Korea research and chief Korea strategist. Lim has also served as head of Korea research at Merrill Lynch from 1997-2001 and worked for Samsung JP Morgan Investment Trust Management.
GSAM is likely to launch retail funds for third-party distribution in the second half of the year, says a source familiar with the firm. Lim's hire would appear to herald an offensive on this front, in addition to expanding the institutional business, he adds.
The firm already offers a Korea equity fund and various fixed-income products, but is looking to widen its scope, adds the source, so a whole plethora of products is likely to emerge.
A GSAM spokesman would not comment, apart from to say that Lim will make further hires to drive sales and marketing efforts and that his experience across investment, research and sales makes him well suited to do so.
The move will support the firm's push to create a more comprehensive onshore offering in Asian markets and challenge local incumbents, as outlined by GSAM's Asia head, Oliver Bolitho, in an interview with AsianInvestor in February.