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NPS’ staff education budget reduced despite drive to build internal capabilities Korea’s state pension fund struggles with dealing with chronic staff shortage

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2021-10-14 08:06:40

이 기사는 2021년 10월 14일 08:03 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) has reduced next year’s budget for staff education, a move seemingly at odds with its drive to build internal capabilities as a measure to counter a chronic problem of staff shortage.

NPS had 314 fund managers compared to its employment quota of 326 at the end of September this year, with the shortage rate of 3.7%, the lowest in the last 10 years, the state pension fund said in a recent report on feedback it received during a 2020 inspection of state administration.

The pension fund said it is implementing several measures to recruit and retain talent as it steps up efforts to expand investments abroad. Those measures include hiring more junior asset management staff, expanding a training program to enhance internal capabilities of overseas investment and providing employees with opportunities to work aboard through partnerships with global investment firms.

However, despite these efforts to address the staff shortage, NPS’ annual budget for staff education has reduced to approximately 1.3 billion won ($1.1 million) for 2022, compared to 1.5 billion won for 2021, according to the pension fund.

Some lawmakers criticized NPS at the inspection of state administration, saying that its spending on staff education is too much, and urged it to reduce the associated budget. In response, NPS answered that it would expand a staff training program to include more senior roles as the pension fund needed to build internal capabilities in order to diversify investment strategies and boost overseas investment.

The pension fund’s report comes as it is hiring fund managers for the fourth time this year. NPS plans to hire eight senior investment staff, according to a job opening posted last Friday. Candidates should have at least three years of investing experience. The deadline for application is October 22 and the final results are expected before the end of December.

The recruiting process comes after NPS posted a job opening for five junior roles only a month ago. The positions were open to those with little experience in investing, as the pension fund revised its rules this summer to ease job requirements in an effort to mitigate investment staff shortages. NPS said at the time that it would hire people with no investing experience and grow them into investment professionals by providing education and job training.

NPS also hired 14 and 48 fund managers respectively in January and April this year, falling short of available positions of 20 and 54. It hired 20 investment staff through two rounds of recruitment in 2020 and 56 through three rounds of recruitment in 2019.

NPS had 918 trillion won in assets under management at the end of July this year. As the pension fund’s AUM grows rapidly, its employment quota has continued to increase from 259 in 2016 to 341 in 2021.

But the pension fund has been struggling with the chronic staff shortage, largely because of less competitive compensation and its location in Jeonju – a more than three-hour drive from Seoul – which could be less attractive for people who want to stay in the capital city.

As part of efforts to address the staff shortage, the pension fund revealed in April the NPS WING’s Program, which it said is designed to foster global asset management experts. The program includes on-the-job training for new hires with a focus on overseas investments and opportunities to work at foreign asset management firms and overseas offices. (Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)
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