Acting CIO departs Korea’s NPS

The world’s third-largest public pension fund is searching for a new CIO again.

The National Pension Service of Korea’s (NPS) acting chief investment officer (CIO) has disclosed his intention to resign, a spokesperson from the pension fund confirmed with PDI last Friday, while declining to comment further on the details.

The pension fund has restarted its CIO search following the announcement by In-Sik Cho, head of the offshore securities division. PDI understands that he is currently on leave, having left the CIO position vacant today.

He had been acting as NPS’ CIO after the former CIO, Myeon-Wook Kang, resigned in July 2017 for personal reasons.

Cho was head of risk management from 2014 to March 2016, and head of domestic equity investment from March 2016 to May 2017, the spokesperson confirmed with PDI.

The pension fund disclosed on 27 June that its CIO hiring process ended without any new hire as there were no eligible candidates for the position. The Korean pension fund received applications for the position from 29 February until 5 March.

Its domestic equities investment team head was let go on 2 July. The reason behind  this was ‘problematic’ valuation research conducted in July 2015, according to NPS’ internal audit report which became available on 3 July.

NPS’ internal auditing resulted in warnings and rebukes for two investment professionals for violating the code of conduct and being inattentive.

NPS has seven investment asset management divisions, according to its latest annual report: investment strategy, investment operation, domestic equity, domestic fixed income, domestic alternative investment, global public market, and global alternative investment. It also has one risk management centre and three overseas offices in New York, London, and Singapore.

The pension fund plans to allocate 12.7 percent or 92.6 trillion Korean won to global alternative investments by end-2019, according to a public disclosure from the Ministry of Health and Welfare that oversees the pension fund on 30 May. The pension fund allocated over 67 trillion won to alternatives as of end-April.