Investment consultancy Towers Watson has moved Jayne Bok, previously head of investment consulting for Korea, to Hong Kong to assume the newly created role of head of sovereign advisory for Asia.
She started in the post on September 1 and reports to Peter Ryan-Kane, Asia-Pacific head of portfolio advisory based in Hong Kong. The move has been planned for a year or so, and as part of this, Andrew Shin was hired as senior investment consultant in Seoul in December, with a view to him taking on more responsibility after Bok's transfer.
“Sovereigns are a specific universe and have challenges beyond those of other large institutional investors such as pension funds and endowments," Ryan-Kane tells AsianInvestor. “We wanted to recognise that more specifically, so now we have a go-to person for that segment.
"We have had a long history of on-the-ground contact and projects with many of the sovereigns in the region, and we see this as continuing to be an important part of how we deliver," he adds. "Jayne's role adds to our ability to leverage our sovereign capability and operate in a broader set of markets."
Bok has been working with some of Towers’ sovereign clients outside Korea for a number of years, so the appointment will add to that momentum, notes Ryan-Kane. She will retain responsibility for key Korean clients, but much of the day-to-day work will be done by Shin and the team in Seoul.
The biggest investors in Korea are state entities, including Bank of Korea and National Pension Service, with $330 billion in reserves and $360 billion in assets under management, respectively.
Bok joined Towers Watson in 2000 in the talent and rewards segment, where her clients were mainly from the financial sector. She transferred to the investment practice in Hong Kong in 2004, but returned to Korea in 2005 to set up the local investment consulting team.
Her role has involved advising pension funds, endowments, financial institutions and government-related funds on their investment arrangements, primarily in the areas of asset allocation and foreign manager selection. Bok is also a member of the Asia portfolio construction group and works on the regional team that covers influential funds in Asia.
Before joining Towers, Shin was a senior manager in the investment banking group at Hanwha Securities. His other roles have included global portfolio manager at Dongbu Insurance and investment research analyst at Credential.