CIC Employees: Loyalty Above Skill?

Ashby Monk

The big news out this morning is that the CIC is launching a ‘global hiring spree’ to fill 64 new positions. The Chinese SWF appears to be getting ready for a big expansion, which we can probably assume is associated with the much publicized (and slow in coming) capital injection.

If you’re interested in applying for any of these positions, you have till August 9 to fill out an application. But don’t get your hopes up unless you’re ethnically Chinese and an upstanding member of the Chinese Communist Party. Indeed, according to a nice post on the FT’s BeyondBrics:

“…the job descriptions are only in Chinese, underlining the fact that CIC is only really interested in “highly qualified professionals” who are ethnically Chinese…Given the sensitive nature of CIC’s investments around the world new recruits are expected to be very discreet and very loyal to the Chinese government, which rules out most foreign financial professionals…The jobs on offer range from secretarial staff and human resources managers – “must be Chinese Communist Party member” – to country analyst in the international cooperation department – “must be good at keeping secrets”.

The CIC is also looking to hire a deputy director for its Disciplinary Committee and Staff Supervisory Bureau who must be:

“…a fair and upright Chinese Communist Party Member with a precise work style and strong comprehensive awareness.”

In sum, the CIC wants loyalty and discretion above skills and talent. Obviously, it’ll take all four, but it looks to me as though the former trump the latter in this case.

So, what does all this mean? Well, it means that getting a job at the CIC is more akin to getting a job in a strategically important government agency than it is to getting a job at a commercially oriented institutional investor. This then raises an obvious question: What is the CIC planning that it has its human resource function operating like it’s recruiting a diplomatic corps instead of seasoned finance professionals?

Well,  I’ve got some ideas on the subject. Still, I also think it’s fair to say that there are an awful lot of countries out there that would love to have some “inside insights” into what the CIC is planning and doing; so perhaps the CIC is guarding against these types of unwanted “intrusions”? Whatever the case, the CIC clearly has its guard up.

4 Responses to “CIC Employees: Loyalty Above Skill?”

  1. 1 Rien Huizer July 29, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Simple: the discipline function is a standard CPC feature of state-owned (as well as nominally private) bodies. CIC is one and so whenever there is an expansion of staff there is growth in the Party presence, and maybe the staff has been a little indiscreet or perhaps even provided inside information outside the circle that is entitled to it. Point could also be that CIC is being drawn more towards the non-PBoC (maybe seen as too much under the influence of foreign ideologies like standard economics) and back into the fold, whatever that may represent these days.So many possible explanations but none that points in the direction of CIC as a poster boy for the Santiago thing.

  2. 2 Ashby Monk July 29, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Interesting to see then that the annual report has an entire section dedicated to the CIC’s adherence and support for the Santiago Principles.

  1. 1 CIC’s 2009 Annual Report: Professionalism and Polish « Oxford SWF Project Trackback on July 29, 2010 at 11:50 am
  2. 2 The SWF Soap Opera: Inspired by Actual Events « Oxford SWF Project Trackback on September 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

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This website is a project of Professor Gordon L. Clark and Dr. Ashby Monk of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Their research on sovereign wealth funds is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and The Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

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