The National Pension Service’s (NPS) investment strategy head, Young-Sig Yang, has recently tendered a resignation and was appointed as the private equity head of South Korea’s NH Investment & Securities Co. Ltd., sources of NPS and NH Investment said on Dec. 14.
The resignation offer by Yang, the de-facto deputy CIO of the South Korean pension scheme’s fund management department, will put a damper on NPS which is suffering brain drains and struggling to hire experienced professionals ahead of the relocation of its head office to a small provincial city next February.
His departure comes as the world’s third-largest pension fund is battling allegations related to the country’s sprawling political scandal, and may lead to “a collapse of the organization,” CIO Myoun-Wook Kang has warned. Earlier this year, a few other NPS’ senior managers, including global infrastructure, global fixed income and global equity heads, quit to join private investment firms.
Yang will step down from the post of investment strategy head at the end of this month and is likely to join NH Investment, the biggest South Korean brokerage house by equity capital and a unit of South Korea’s agricultural cooperative, early next year. Other companies had also approached him to offer jobs, following his resignation offer. Considering that he has yet to ink a contract with NH Investment, he may be open to other job offers.
He had led NPS’ alternative investments as head of domestic alternative investment and global alternative investment divisions since joining the pension fund in 2005. As the investment strategy head since July, Yang has taken charge of strategic asset allocation and environmental, social and corporate governance.
Prior to NPS, Yang had worked for a South Korean commercial bank and a venture capital firm, after graduating from Seoul National University’s department of economics. He spearheaded NPS’s investment in private equity funds which financed Fila Korea’s 2011 acquisition of Acushnet that makes Titleist golf equipment. He was also credited for a 200 billion won profit NPS reaped last year from selling a landmark Manhattan office tower, Helmsely Building, after buying the property in 2011.
NH Investment is understood to have hunted for its PE head, after combining the PE division of NH Bank and the PE team of NH Investment early this year. The combined PE division manages more than 1 trillion won ($855 million) of assets. Its latest successful investment includes the sale of Tong Yang Magic to SK Networks Co. Ltd. for 610 billion won in November, after acquiring the Korean home appliance rental company jointly with a local PEF, Glenwood, for 280 billion won in 2014. To hire Yang, the brokerage company reorganized its private equity division to bring it directly under CEO from the supervision of the investment banking department.
By Chang Jae Yoo and Dongwook Jwa
<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>