China’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Shuffles Some Leadership Roles

China’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund shuffled some leadership roles including in asset allocation, following a revamp of its investment decision-making committees, according to people familiar with the matter.

China Investment Corp. has appointed Li Tao as head of its asset allocation department, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters. ​Liu Fangyu succeeds Li as president of CIC’s Hong Kong unit, the people added.

Chen Jia, in turn, replaces Liu as head of public relations and international cooperation at the Beijing-based fund, according to the people. Chen’s previous department at CIC Capital, the direct investment unit, was dismantled earlier this year. ​

The personnel changes come after CIC revamped its investment committees earlier this year to improve how it allocates assets in overseas markets. Executive Vice President Zhao Haiying said in an interview this month that the company is sticking to its target of boosting alternative and direct investments to 50% of its global portfolio by the end of 2022, even after the portion of such assets dropped in 2019.

The changes were “internal normal personnel adjustments,” CIC said in an emailed statement.

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The fund formed two new investment committees in January to approve deals in public and non-public assets, replacing bodies at the two units that previously had overlapping responsibilities for the process, Bloomberg reported earlier. Chen’s management department was disbanded then, with its legal and risk-control functions folded into relevant teams.

Li’s appointment as head of the Asset Allocation and Business Management Department, as it’s called now, fills a gap that had been left after Fan Hua quit in 2018. Zhang Hang, a managing director who had been in charge of daily work, will stay, the people said.

Giving senior managers key positions may help the fund retain talent, after it saw a stream of experienced executives depart over the years to pursue opportunities that emerged elsewhere.

Departures in recent years have included at least 17 team leaders and managing directors, such as former head of the Toronto office Winston Ma Wenyan, who left in early 2018. Among last year’s resignations was Susan Gao, who was in charge of global fundamental equities managing more than $10 billion.

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