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KIC looks West for venture investing

The sovereign wealth fund is opening its San Francisco office by Q3 to gain competitive advantages in alternative investments across North America, the chairman confirms.

By Adalla Kim, Private Debt Investor

Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) plans to set up a new office in San Francisco by the third quarter of 2020, according to KIC chairman Heenam Choi, speaking at KIC’s annual press conference held in Seoul today.

The purpose of opening the new office is to gain competitive advantages in alternative investments across the North American region, focusing on local alternative investment opportunities, such as venture capital and the technology sector in the West Coast area, according to an official statement provided by KIC today.

The sovereign wealth fund will look to partner with pension funds, private equity GPs, and asset management companies based in California.

Further details could not be disclosed.

KIC has been in the process of revamping its alternative investment activities, focusing on co-investment opportunities.

As reported in the April 2019 issue of Private Debt Investor, an affiliate publication of Venture Capital Journal, KIC’s target allocation for overall alternative exposure was 20 percent, to be achieved by 2021. In February 2019, KIC entered into a memorandum of understanding with Korea Post to undertake offshore asset management activities on behalf of Korea Post. It was understood that the two institutions planned to co-invest in an offshore infrastructure equity deal during 2019.

KIC had $157.3 billion of net assets under management as of December 2019. Of these, a consigned fund from South Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance accounted for $78.1 billion, while another from the Bank of Korea was worth $30 billion.

Its overall investment return was 4.60 percent, on an annualized basis, as of end-2019. Its alternative investment portfolio had generated 7.56 percent of return, in annualized terms.

KIC has overseas branches in New York, London and Singapore as of the end of January.

The author Adalla Kim is a reporter for Private Debt Investor. She can be reached at adalla.k@peimedia.com.