Seoul Summit: ‘Avoid shoddy copy-paste e-mails,’ South Korean LPs tell fund managers

Country’s institutions expect GPs to customise their communications when seeking investors’ business and capital.

South Korean institutional investors have asked fund managers to do research on LPs before contacting them and to “tailor” their pitches rather than sending generic e-mails.

“When we get an e-mail, the impression is that the text is not really specific,” Jake Lee, head of infrastructure at Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance, explained during a panel discussion at Infrastructure Investor’s Seoul Summit on 7 May.

“In some cases, there are really shoddy copy-paste e-mails, with the text still in blue colour,” he added, referring to the font that some e-mail providers use for forwarded messages.

Jason Hyunjae Kim, head of one of the infrastructure teams at Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, echoed Lee’s remarks, and said some GPs do not seem to know enough about their potential investors: “Before the actual meeting, it is necessary to gather information about us.”

Despite this, both panellists stressed they were open to new proposals, provided GPs had done their homework. “We don’t mind a phone call or an e-mail, if you can tailor it to the recipient,” Lee said.

Co-investment opportunities key

Korean LPs also expressed their interest in investing with fund managers that are able to offer co-investment opportunities in the future.

“In Korea, local investors have access to syndicated loans for the market’s ‘megadeals’,” said Kim. “But in foreign markets it is difficult to know the details of these deals. We decided to gain information through commingled funds.

“What is important for us is to have more opportunities for co-investment, and more information.”

Similarly, Hyungon Kim, senior manager at the Korean Teachers’ Credit Union, said his organisation would be looking for mid-size funds that are able to provide co-investment opportunities during 2019 and 2020, in order to further “diversify its portfolio”.

“Our investment ticket stands between $50 and $100 million,” he said. “But we can have a higher ticket under exceptional circumstances, when we are building a special relationship with a GP.”