Wind of change at Korea’s $92bn wealth fund as it exercises voting rights for first time
South Korea's sovereign wealth fund has directly exercised its voting rights for first time this proxy season.
The close to $92 billion-Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) participated this year in shareholder meetings of Facebook-owner Meta, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies, the company's latest financial records show.
The investment giant took actively part in shareholders meetings and voting between 24 and 31 May, which included a range of its investee companies.
Firms that KIC actively engaged with were Thermo Fisher Scientific, a US life sciences company, French energy giant TotalEnergies, Swiss mining mammoth Glencore, social media powerhouse Meta, the owner of Instagram and Facebook, as well as ExxonMobil, the global energy company.
The active engagement efforts mark a change at the Korean wealth fund, which has a long history of passive voting or not engaging at all.
However, under the relatively new KIC CEO Jin Seoungho, appointed in May 2021, it seems a new wind is blowing.
He wrote that "active ownership and shareholder engagement is an important part of sovereign wealth fund’s investment. KIC’s shareholder voting on its own direction is a meaningful step forward to fulfil stewardship responsibilities,” said KIC CEO Jin Seoungho.
“KIC is committed to enhancing sustainability in global business, thus creating long term value of ESG investments. We are also collaborating with global institutional investors to raise collective voices to encourage better ESG practices and contribute to effective net zero transition,” he added.
The Korea Investment Corporation was set up by by the government of South Korea in 2005. As of June 2023, its net asset value was just over $91.8 billion.