On Tuesday evening, AIMCo announced its first hire in Singapore – and to the surprise of many, it came from the global leadership group of GIC, the flagship Sovereign Wealth Fund of the island-nation.

As communicated in our May 1 newsletter, the Alberta-based leading manager of wealth and pension capital was finalizing the details of its new overseas offices in New York and Singapore. Six months ago, it recruited David Scudellari, former Head of Private Equity and Credit at PSP, to lead the efforts in the US.

At the same time, it named former Board member at HOOPP Marlene Puffer as the new Chief Investment Officer. This reportedly created some internal tensions and the two existing co-CIOs departed shortly after.

Today, the recruitment of Kevin Bong confirms yet another high-profile hire from a peer investor, which used to be rare given transparency and sensitive issues in the industry. Kevin was also a representative of GIC in international conferences and forums, which showed the trust he enjoyed in the organization. He rotated through a number of investment departments including commodities and hedge funds, before going to Toronto for a three-year stint at OPTrust and going back to GIC to spearhead the Strategy efforts.

According to AIMCo’s press release, “Mr. Bong will be responsible for setting overall investment strategy including total portfolio management, dynamic and tactical allocation, currency and cash management, and a pan-asset class strategy with a focus on geographic diversification and thematic investing. In addition to his global responsibilities, he will also set the strategic direction of our team in Singapore.”

With this office, AIMCo joins several of its peers in the Lion City, including sovereign funds NBIM, QIA, KIC, and SAFE, and pension funds NPS, CDPQ, OMERS and OTPP. HOOPP may join them soon.

It is rare to find alumni of GIC in other sovereign wealth funds and pension funds, especially in leadership positions. Historically, most senior professionals leaving the Singaporean fund have done so to start their own fund or to semi-retire with non-executive directorships. So, this move will surely send shockwaves across the industry and may set a precedent for a more open job market among Sovereign Investors.

Photo: AIMCo's senior leadership appointments in the past six months

Related funds AIMCo GIC HOOPP PSP