The head of South Korea’s $77 billion sovereign wealth fund has apologized to the country’s citizens for its disastrous $2 billion investment in Merrill Lynch, made shortly before the corporation merged with Bank of America.
“I believe that it was a poor investment and apologize to the people of Korea,” Hongchul Ahn, CEO of the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC), told reporters in a news conference Monday. “I promise that Korea Investment Corporation will remember the painful lesson from the Merrill Lynch investment and become a global sovereign wealth fund.”
Made in February, 2008, the $2 billion “special investment” was converted into Bank of America stock following the mid-crisis merger of the two financial giants. The assets had fallen in value by $720 million as of the end of October, 2014, according to KIC documents.
The investment will stay on KIC’s books for the time being, according to the regional Yonhap New Agency.
“Task force research on Bank of America’s operation and financial sheets showed that it’s stock performance outlook is positive,” Ahn said.
He took over the board of directors and CEO position in December 2013, following a post-crisis period of swift turnover in the CIO position.