Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

China's Huge Pension Fund Is Hiring in Sign of Risky Asset Push

  • SSF is advertising for investment jobs on its website
  • Fund under pressure to generate returns as population ages

China’s $237 billion social security fund posted a rare public advertisement for job openings in economic analysis, equity research and global fixed-income investment, fueling speculation that the state-run institution is preparing to boost holdings of riskier assets.

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Most of the 29 openings published on the fund’s website on May 4 require a background in finance and accounting, while all the positions stipulate that applicants have a Beijing “hukou,” a registration card for city residents. Four of the jobs are designated for Communist Party members, in areas including cadre management and foreign affairs.

The fund, whose main purpose is to provide support for China’s elderly, is under pressure to generate higher returns as the country’s 1.4 billion people age and yields on government bonds hover near historic lows. Any sign of a shift into riskier securities could boost sentiment in the domestic stock market, where traders have long speculated SSF could step up purchases after last year’s $5 trillion crash.

“It is a reflection of the fund’s expansion,” said Hao Hong, chief China strategist at Bocom International Holdings Co. in Hong Kong. “As investment return continues to fall in China, it pays to look overseas for investment opportunities and potential risk diversification.”

The National Council for Social Security Fund, the agency that oversees SSF, said it’s looking for two people in its securities investment department with research experience in stocks, bonds and currencies, while the overseas investment unit has two openings for global bonds and one for stocks. Other positions include risk management, asset allocation and accounting. The fund said applicants should be Chinese citizens and “generally” under 35 years old. They have until May 25 to submit resumes and an exam will be held on June 4.

A call to SSF’s Beijing office wasn’t answered on Friday.

In SSF’s 2014 annual report, the fund said it had 571 billion yuan ($87.8 billion) of “held-to-maturity” investments and 135 billion yuan of long-term equity investments. It had 513 billion yuan of financial assets “held for trading” and another 241 billion yuan “available for sale.”

The Shanghai Composite Index has dropped 17 percent this year and is down 43 percent from last year’s high in June. The yield on 10-year government bonds was 2.9 percent on Thursday, versus the five-year average of 3.66 percent, according to ChinaBond.

— With assistance by Allen Wan, and Fox Hu

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