Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) has hired Kwon Kiho, an internal candidate, to head its upcoming office in Mumbai, India.
The sovereign wealth fund plans to open the Mumbai office in April, after it won regulatory approval from the Reserve Bank of India on January 24.
“The commencement of the Mumbai office is expected to be early April. And the location of the new office is not determined yet - KIC is considering major financial districts of Mumbai, including Bandra Kurla Complex,” a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.
The Bandra Kurla complex is a business district boasting a concentration of financial firm headquarters within Mumbai, the commercial capital of India.
Kwon, who will become head of KIC in India, is currently director in KIC’s investment strategy and innovation group.
He has mainly focused on developing strategy for KIC's overseas business, the spokesperson said.
Kwon joined KIC in 2015. His previous responsibilities at KIC include government and institutional relations.
AsianInvestor understands that KIC and Kwon have worked for about a year preparing for the Mumbai office launch. That involves getting the fairly extensive documentation needed ready for regulatory approval as well as the ractical aspects of finding the right office location.
HIRING FOR ALTS
The Mumbai office, once launched, will focus on research and information gathering on investment opportunities as well as deal sourcing, primarily within alternative investments.
AsianInvestor previously reported that KIC will look at investment opportunities in alternative assets, particularly in private equity, including venture capital, and real estate and infrastructure, with the latter as the starting point.
The India office will support the alternative investment activities of the Seoul headquarters as well as building and managing networks with investment managers in India.
KIC plans to hire two local investment professionals for the Mumbai office in 2024, one of which will be private-equity focused.
“KIC is anticipating expanding the Mumbai office in accordance with growing investment opportunities in the region,” the spokesperson said.
“The Mumbai office will become an integral part of KIC’s sustainable growth by capturing new investment opportunities in the world’s fastest growing economy, primarily in the private equity, venture capital, real estate and infrastructure markets,” Jin Seungho, KIC’s CEO, confirmed in a statement on January 29.
KIC’s total assets under management (AUM) were valued at $181.4 billion at the end of August 2023.
Alternative assets made up 22.7% of total assets and the sovereign wealth fund aims to raise that share to 25% by 2025.
The Mumbai office is KIC’s fifth overseas office in addition to offices in New York (2010), London (2011), Singapore (2017) and San Francisco (2021).
India is the Korean wealth fund's first office in emerging markets.