NPS’s global alternatives head resigns

The pension fund’s senior executives were reshuffled after the arrest of its chairman in December last year.

Sang-Hyun Yoo, the head of South Korea’s National Pension Service, has decided to resign amid the latest wave of key personnel departures in the organisation.

A source at NPS confirmed Yoo’s resignation, but did not provide details about his replacement.

Yoo has been with the state’s fund for 10 years when he joined from Morgan Stanley Property in 2007. He was promoted to his current role in July 2016 to oversee the firm’s international investment strategy across real estate, private equity, private debt, infrastructure and hedge funds. Prior to that, he headed the state fund’s domestic alternatives division.

Over the past year, the pension fund has seen a reshuffle of its senior management. Yoo’s predecessor, Young-Sig Yang, was promoted to head of investment strategy in July last year but resigned shortly after in December. He was then replaced by Lee Su-Cheol, previously head of the domestic alternatives division.

The reshuffle came at a tumultuous time for the pension fund. At the end of last year, the headquarters of the world's third-largest pension fund was raided by prosecutors. The fund’s chairman Moon Hyung-pyo was arrested by a South Korean special prosecution team amid investigations into an influence-peddling scandal involving recently impeached South Korean president Park Geun-hye.

NPS confirmed the information above but declined to comment further.

As a result, NPS executives have been banned from overseas trips and their foreign travel will remain prohibited until the investigations of the special prosecutor’s team end, according to Korea Economic Daily.

At the end of this month, the headquarters of the state pension is moving from Seoul to Jeonju, a small provincial city a three-hour drive from Seoul.

Last year, the $480 billion pension fund reported that it would commit $200 million to Cerberus Capital Asset Management’s latest distressed real estate fund, Cerberus Institutional Real Estate Partners, for distressed real estate investment in the US and Europe.