ECONOMY

China’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Loses Two Investment Leaders

China Investment Corp. has lost two executives leading investment teams, extending an exodus of senior professionals at the nation’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund.

Shang Yanchun, a director who led one of the two teams for technology, media and telecommunications at CIC Capital, recently left to seek other opportunities, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Lu Man, who was in charge of manufacturing deals at the direct investment arm, left earlier this year, they said, asking not to be identified as the departures were private.

More than 20 team leaders and managing directors have left in recent years, deepening an exodus even after the fund set up a leadership group for high-level recruitment. The departures highlight CIC’s challenges in bolstering its appeal as an employer, which has been eroded by shrinking opportunities, sliding compensation competitiveness and rising restrictions.

“Personnel change is a normal phenomenon for enterprises,” Beijing-based CIC said in an emailed statement, reiterating its commitment to “garner high-caliber, dedicated professionals.” Shang and Lu couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The duo add to at least five departures last year at the direct investment arm alone, where deal-making has become more difficult as protectionism in major markets like the U.S. rises and the pandemic curbs travel. Executive Vice President Zhang Qing left in early 2019, and Winston Ma, a managing director and former head of the Toronto office, quit in 2018.

As a result of the company’s bid last year to replenish its talent pool, Yu Bin, who left in 2014 for Neuberger Berman, rejoined CIC’s public equities department as a managing director, people familiar with the matter said earlier.

More recently, CIC hired Wang Cuishan, an 18-year property investment veteran from Pacific Eagle Holdings Corp. as a director in the real estate department, the people said.

China’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Loses Four More Senior Managers

Little progress has been disclosed on plans announced in 2017 to increase the unit’s capital to as much as $100 billion, including a potential overseas bond sale. The fund has received little fresh capital to deploy after 2012 as the nation’s foreign exchange reserves reversed their years-long surge in 2014.

The share of alternative assets — which include the direct investments for which CIC Capital was created in 2015 — in its overseas portfolio fell almost 2 percentage points in 2019, according to that year’s annual report. The measure climbed again last year, and the company committed a record amount of capital in private deals, heralding further increases, Executive Vice President Zhao Haiying said in an interview in March.

In 2019, CIC Capital committed a combined $5.8 billion of new investments in 30 deals, spanning infrastructure, energy, TMT and manufacturing.

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