PGI strengthens institutional sales team in Asia

11 July 2014   Category: News, Asia, Hong Kong, Korea   By PGI strengthens institutional sales team in Asia

Brian Shin has been appointed as director, head of institutional sales, Korea at Principal Global Investors (PGI). He will be based in Hong Kong and report to Andrea Muller, chief executive for Asia, and Kirk West, executive director – international investments.

In his new role, Mr. Shin will be responsible for sales and business development activities in Korea. He will serve as a key conduit for introducing PGI’s capabilities to, and strengthening the firm’s relationships with, sovereign wealth funds, government pension funds, central banks, insurance companies and endowments in the country.

On the new appointment, Ms. Muller commented: “We’re pleased to welcome Brian to a rapidly growing team. His experience as a senior sales person in Korea will be instrumental in helping us deliver the breadth of solutions our multi-boutique platform offers to institutional clients there.”

When Asia Asset Management asked if the firm had any plans to build a local presence in the country to complement its institutional sales team operating from Hong Kong, Ms. Muller confessed: “We do not have any immediate plans to have [an] on-the-ground presence in Korea.”

Mr. Shin was previously director, sales, Korea for Bluebay Asset Management in Hong Kong. Prior to that, he had been employed in Seoul as director, institutional sales, Korea with Robeco Asset Management, and before that, he worked for ING Investment Management, also in Seoul.

Ms. Muller was happy to give AAM her thoughts on the current state of play in Korea. “Fed tapering was a concern like [in] any other markets, however most institutions in Korea have now got used to both the low yield environment with expected rate rising in the long future. With this in mind, diversification is now a theme for institutions in all asset classes, which would be exploited by having both passive and active mandates across the investment universe. Alternative investment is one of the most favoured allocation plans (i.e. real estate, private equity funds, private debt, infrastructure fund, hedge funds, multi-asset strategy), although traditional asset classes will always remain to be invested in short- to medium-term.”

She added: “Real estate stays the most favourite investment theme for all institutions in Korea (US, Europe, Asia and Australia). As a result, institutions have become more sophisticated in terms of investing and selecting specific markets.”

PGI, which is part of the Principal Financial Group, was managing US$317.6 billion in assets, primarily for retirement plans and other institutional clients, as of March 31 this year.