Home Alternative Investments South Korean wealth fund opens India office to boost alternative investments

South Korean wealth fund opens India office to boost alternative investments

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South Korea’s sovereign wealth fund, Korea Investment Corporation (KIC), has set up an office in India’s financial capital Mumbai to bolster its alternative asset portfolio. 

The $181-billion state fund will keep a sharp focus on the venture capital and private equity sector while eyeing opportunities in real assets, including infrastructure and real estate, to support India’s economic development, according to a statement on Monday.

KIC’s latest outpost, which has been in the works since last year, is its fifth overseas office after New York, London, Singapore, and San Francisco and the first in an emerging market. 

Kiho Kwon, who has been with the firm for over eight years, will head the India team of two local experts, which consists of a private equity professional, the Korean investor said in a separate statement. The role of the office will include research, deal sourcing, building and managing relationships with investment managers on the ground as well as supporting KIC’s alternative investments.

“India is emerging as a new core of the global economy and as a region with a great growth potential. It is very meaningful for KIC to enter the market for the first time as a Korean public institutional investor,” said KIC CEO Seoungho Jin. 

Alternative assets accounted for about 22.8% of its overall portfolio in 2022, according to KIC’s latest annual report.

The state-run fund joins a growing list of overseas institutional investors to have established a presence in India. Last year, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority opened its first India office in Gujarat’s GIFT City, while Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is reportedly set to follow suit in September. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan also launched an office in Mumbai in 2022. 

India, however, has seen private equity and venture capital investments hitting a speed bump after a long bull run since the start of the pandemic. Startup fundraising fell almost 23% year-on-year to $2.95 billion in the October-December quarter, while the volume was down 25%, triggered by a slew of factors including monetary policy tightening, rising inflation, and global economic slowdown.

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