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WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Cesar Tordesillas, Korea
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South Korea's pension fund withdraws money from Goldman

It is seen as a retaliation for pulling out its asset management unit out of South Korea.

This is about the National Pension Fund's withrawal of all funds entrusted to Goldman Sachs for management.

The NPS is the world’s fourth largest pension fund with 368 trillion won or $341 billion in assets.

Goldman's decision to exit South Korea's local asset management market reportedly angered NPS Chairman Jun Kwang-woo, who heard of it while in New York. He canceled his luncheon meeting with high-ranking Goldman Sachs officials the following day.

''We decided to nullify a fund management contract with Goldman Sachs Asset Management right after it announced the plan to close its doors early next year. Foreign asset managers must operate a local office to manage our funds,’’ said an NPS official.

In response to the NPS move, Goldman Sachs said there is nothing it can do about it.

''It is totally up to institutional investors how to manage their funds. Money comes and goes,’’ a Goldman Sachs spokesman said.

In an apparent bid to appease the NPS, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs Michael Evans visited the pension fund’s headquarters in Seoul to explain its decision to shut down its asset management firm here. Evans also reportedly promised to expand its investment banking business in South Korea and hire more workers.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management said earlier that it decided to pull out of Korea after failing to make profits in the increasingly competitive marketplace.

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