China's $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Loses Quant Trading Team Leader

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(Bloomberg) — The team leader for quantitative stocks trading at China’s $1.2 trillion sovereign wealth fund has resigned, joining a growing list of departures among the firm’s investing professionals, according to people familiar with the matter.

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    Zhang Rong, a director in China Investment Corp.’s public equities department, submitted her resignation in December to seek other opportunities, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Wu Jian’an, a director and team leader for co-investments in the private equity department, also left the firm earlier, they said.

    Global Tech News Daily

    More than 20 team leaders and managing directors have left CIC in recent years, an exodus that prompted the Beijing-based fund to set up a leadership group for high-level recruitment in 2020 to replenish its talent pool. CIC has been trying to bolster its in-house investing capabilities and expand co-investments to improve long-term results amid rising market volatility.

    The leadership group has since hired a few people, including Yu Bin from Neuberger Berman as a managing director at the public equities department, and Wang Cuishan from Pacific Eagle Holdings Corp. as a director in the real estate department, Bloomberg reported earlier.

    Global Tech News Daily

    CIC reiterated its stance that personnel change is “a normal phenomenon for enterprises,” and said the fund is committed to building a “first-class team.” Zhang and Wu didn’t reply to requests for comment.

    Read how CIC was losing talent at the worst time

    CIC set up a proprietary quant trading platform in 2015 as the fund tried to bolster internal management of overseas investments to enhance its own investing capabilities. Returns for several self-managed portfolios “significantly exceeded” benchmarks, according to that year’s annual report.

    The proprietary operations lost two key managers in 2020. Susan Gao, who managed more than $10 billion in large-cap stocks, and Wallace Yu, who led the multi-asset group, left in the first half of that year.

    CIC has been expanding private equity co-investments in recent years as part of its strategy to raise the proportion of direct and alternative assets to 50% of its global portfolio by the end of 2022.

    CIC’s appeal as an employer has been eroded by shrinking opportunities, sliding compensation competitiveness and rising restrictions, current and former managers told Bloomberg in 2020. At least five people left last year, including three executives from its asset allocation department and two team leaders.

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