Ex-NPS global alternatives heads move to Korean law firms as advisors

  • 2017-08-04

Two former global alternative investment heads of South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) moved to the country’s top law firms to advise on alternative investment legal services, just after they left the world’s third-largest pension scheme this year.

Young-Sig Yang, who had led investment strategy and global alternative investment divisions of the NPS, started work for Yulchon LLC after his resignation offer, submitted late last year, was finally accepted in July, according to investment banking sources.

Young-Sig Yang, ex-NPS investment strategy head

Young-Sig Yang, ex-NPS investment strategy head

Last December Yang was named as private equity head of South Korea’s NH Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. But tighter internal inspections by the NPS at the time had kept him from leaving the pension fund until recently.

Market talk is that Yulchon hired him as soon as his three-month suspension of work imposed by NPS was lifted.

His move comes after Sang-Hyun Yoo, who had succeeded Yang as NPS’ global alternative investment head last year, quit in February and began work for Kim & Chang, South Korea’s biggest law firm. Yoo advises on legal services for global real estate investments.

Sang-Hyun Yoo, ex-NPS global alternative investment head

Sang-Hyun Yoo, ex-NPS global alternative investment head

Both Yang and Yoo, graduates of the country’s prestigious Seoul National University, were the most senior alternative investment experts at the $500 billion pension scheme. Their departures came as NPS suffered heavy talent outflows ahead of its head office relocation to a provincial city in February.

Prosecutors’ investigations into its backing for the 2015 controversial merger of two Samsung Group units also had pushed ex-CEO and Chairman Hyung-Pyo Moon to resign. Moon was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He is appealing against the court ruling.

Yang is also known to work as a non-standing director of South Korea’s Environment Management Corporation, which runs treatment facilities for public sewage and wastewater. Standard Chartered Private Equity established the firm after acquiring a Korean company offering the same services.

Other ex-senior NPS fund managers have taken high-level positions at asset management companies.

Kyung-Jik Lee, ex-NPS global public market head, moved to Wellington Management, US-based investment firm, to take charge of marketing in South Korea.

Meanwhile, NPS will begin the selection process for new CEO next week.

“We will hold a board meeting early next week and form a selection committee for executives. Then we will be able to start the public selection process,” said an NPS source on August 3.

The committee will recommend a couple of CEO candidates to Welfare Minister Neung-hoo Park who was installed late in July. The minister will then pick one of them and recommend to President Moon Jae-in for appointment.

NPS will also start to look for chief investment officer soon, following the resignation of ex-CIO Myoun-Wook Kang last month before his two-year term ended.

By Donghub Lee and Soram Jung

leedh@hankyung.com

<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>