South Korea Pension Fund Launches CIO Search

Third-largest pension fund has been without permanent CIO since July.

South Korea’s 615 trillion won ($570 billion) National Pension Service (NPS), which claims to be the third-largest pension fund in the world, has reportedly launched its search for a new CIO to replace Myoun-wook Kang, who resigned seven months ago. The fund’s current acting CIO is In-Sik Cho.

The pension fund has established a search committee that will accept applications from interested candidates until March 20, according to Asia Asset Management. NPS CEO Sung-joo Kim said the person who is chosen should have “high moral standards” and “global investment capabilities.”

The search committee will create a short list of applicants, and then recommend a candidate to Kim, who will then need the approval from South Korea’s minister of health and welfare.  Kang resigned in July for personal reasons, seven months before his two-year term was set to expire.

Since the pension fund moved its headquarters last year from Seoul to Jeonju-si, which is more than 100 miles away, it had lost a significant number of employees who grew weary of the long commute. It reportedly took three hours to travel to Seoul from the new office for meetings with clients and external managers.

The National Pension Fund has recorded a 5.86% annual average rate of return since its foundation in 1999 to the end of 2016.

Meanwhile, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that a growing number of people are applying to re-subscribe to the state pension plan after being disqualified due to failure to meet mandatory policy terms or other reasons.

As of Feb. 9, nearly 15,000 people have applied to return the lump-sum insurance payouts they received because they failed to pay premiums for a mandatory period, according to NPS data. The return system allows applicants to pay back the insurance money plus interest to the state pension to regain eligibility.

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