GIC hires Arjun Khullar from J.P. Morgan

Arjun Khullar, a former equity capital markets banker with J.P. Morgan, has been hired by Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) as a fund manager. Khullar left his most recent job as head of international listings at J.P. Morgan in London two months ago and will start at the sovereign wealth fund in about a month.

He has been with J.P. Morgan for 16 years, and before moving to London in January this year he spent almost four years in Singapore, initially as head of Southeast Asia ECM and since May last year as co-head of equity capital and derivatives markets (ECDM) for Asia ex-Japan. His new job will see him return to Singapore again.

While he has no actual experience within fund management, his ECM background should come in handy in terms of identifying potential investment targets. Khullar also dealt with GIC as a client during his time at J.P. Morgan in Singapore. Among other things, he worked with the fund on its private equity investments in Global Logistic Property and China Minzhong Food Corp, as well as its cornerstone investment in Malaysia-based Sunway Reit.

In his new role he will be focusing on GIC’s investments in the public equity markets and will also help the fund with regard to its own capital markets activities.

This suggests that Khullar will work under Lim Chow Kiat, who was named president of GIC Asset Management from July 1 as part of a senior management reshuffle. GIC Asset Management is one of three investment groups that manage the fund’s portfolio and the one that deals in the public markets. The other two are GIC Real Estate and GIC Special Investments, which focuses on private equity. Lim had been GIC’s Europe president since September 2009, overseeing its investments and relationships in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

According to GIC’s annual report for the fiscal year to March 2011, investments into public equities accounted for 49% of its overall portfolio, which was down slightly from 51% a year earlier. By comparison, only 10% of its money is invested in private equity or infrastructure assets, and another 10% in real estate.

GIC, which was established exactly 30 years ago to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves, doesn’t disclose the size of its investment portfolio, but the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute estimated its investments to be $247.5 billion as of July this year. That makes it the world’s eighth largest sovereign wealth fund.

Khullar transferred to London early this year to head up J.P. Morgan’s efforts with regard to international, or cross-border, listings. His remit was to focus both on the growing trend of European companies listing in Asia and on bringing Asian companies to London. His work has resulted in J.P. Morgan being mandated for the upcoming Singapore listings of Manchester United and Fitness First. J.P. Morgan is also a joint bookrunner for the London IPO of China Tianhe Chemicals, which is expected to take place in the fourth quarter.

Before Khullar joined J.P. Morgan Cazenove in London 16 years ago, he worked with Jardine Fleming in Asia.

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