Korea’s KIC seeks secondaries managers

Secondaries are part of the sovereign wealth fund's bid to increase its alternatives exposure by 5% over the next two years.

Korea Investment Corporation has made secondaries part of an ambitious plan to boost its alternatives exposure.

The sovereign wealth fund is in the process of hiring an undisclosed number of secondaries managers, according to sister publication Private Debt Investor, citing three sources familiar with the matter. KIC declined to comment.

It is not clear whether the fund is offering a secondaries mandate or aiming to commit to the funds of external managers.

KIC is seeking to increase its exposure to alternative assets by 5 percent over the course of two years, to bring its allocation to 19 percent, its chief executive officer Heenam Choi said when he took up the job at the end of March.

The move comes as the fund plans to achieve higher risk-adjusted returns from alternative investment assets with low correlation to public markets, according to Choi.

“We need to boost our investment performance and increase our assets under management to more than $200 billion to stand with the top sovereign wealth funds,” he said in a statement published after his first press conference held in Seoul on 17 May.

Choi is a former director of the International Monetary Fund and South Korea’s former deputy finance minister.

The KIC currently has $134.1 billion in investible assets, making it the 14th largest in the world, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.