The National Pension Service (NPS) has withdrawn the appointment of its new global alternative investment head due to an inaccurate statement on his resume, in a decision which may leave empty the position of handling $35 billion overseas assets at the world’s third-largest pension scheme for a longer period.
On July 5, the personnel committee of the NPS’ Investment Management department led by CIO Myoun-Wook Kang decided to revoke the appointment of Jae-Sang Kim as the global alternative investment division chief, after they found a discrepancy between his statement on the curriculum vitae and his work history uncovered during verification checks.
“We confirmed that part of his application materials and supporting documents, which state he has more than 15 years of experience in investment management, was inaccurately stated,” an NPS’ investment management source told the Korean Investors.
On his CV, he stated he had served as an alternative investment head of South Korea’s Meritz Asset Management Co. Ltd. for three years. But it was found that he had worked for a unit of Meritz Asset for one year of the three years at Meritz.
His appointment faced criticism because of his very similar work career to CIO Kang’s. Both had worked for same asset management firms including Meritz Asset, ABN AMRO Asset Management, Schroders and BNP Paribas’ units, and had overlapping periods at some of them.
Kim’s lack of experience in global alternative investments also raised concerns about his capabilities to handle NPS’ 40 trillion won ($35 billion) worth of overseas assets in real estate, infrastructure, private equity and hedge funds.
Since the departure of the former global alternative head Yoo in February, it is known that NPS has been delaying important investment decisions, or rejected some of them which would have been approved at their normal times.
NPS’ global alternative investment head is required to have expertise and experience in the relevant fields, as well as English communication ability.
“Given the short history of South Korea’s global investments, it is very difficult to find a qualified candidate among those born in the 1960s, the age group for manager jobs,” said an asset management industry source.
“As (NPS) is expected to tighten qualifications for the job further, the position of global alternative investment head may be left empty for a considerable period of time.”
Another industry source said that suitable candidates are unwilling to apply for NPS after the NPS Investment Management office moved to Jeonju, a small provincial city, in February.
Prosecutors’ investigations and recent prison sentences imposed on former senior NPS officials involved in a vote for a 2015 controversial merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries also render experienced fund managers hesitant to move to the state fund.
By Hugh YH Jeong and Chang Jae Yoo
<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>