Acting CIO of South Korean Retirement Plan Leaves

Cho In-Sik departs amid search for permanent successor at No. 3 biggest public pension program.

Cho In-Sik

The acting chief investment officer for the world’s third-largest public pension fund has resigned.

Cho In-Sik, head of the $559.6 billion National Pension Service’s global market division, had been temporarily helming the South Korean fund after the sudden departure of former CIO Kang Myoun-Wook last July. Kang was only seven months into his two-year contract, and quit after the state-run retirement system cancelled its global alternative investment head appointment.

Cho leaves as the fund restarts its CIO search, leaving the Korean pension plan with no head. While the reason for his resignation is unknown, according to The Korea Times and Korean Investor, it is believed that the departure relates to an internal audit regarding the pension service’s support of a controversial 2015 merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries.

The National Pension Service now has four executive roles up for grabs, including Cho’s global market’s division role. Chae Jun-Kyu, the plan’s domestic equity division head, also lost his job last week as he allegedly created the report supporting the merger, the Korean news outlets report. Kim Jong-Hee, head of domestic fixed-income, is taking on Chae’s responsibilities in the interim.

In addition, the global alternative division is also searching for a head. Choe Hyung-don is serving in the role for now.

Cho’s exit is the latest in a flock of resignations throughout the fund. Last year, 27 fund managers quit, after 30 left in 2016. The National Pension Service planned to hire 38 professionals in the first half of this year, but instead added 20.

The fund returned 7.28% in 2017.

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