Most Powerful Women in Finance: No. 15, NY Life's Yie-Hsin Hung

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CEO | New York Life Investment Management

New York Life, the nation's largest and oldest mutual life insurance company, is quietly emerging as a global force in asset management.

Over the last six years, the company has roughly tripled its third-party assets under management, to more than $300 billion, and climbed five spots in the rankings of the world's largest asset managers, to No. 24.

Credit Yie-Hsin Hung, the CEO of New York Life Investment Management, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of parent company New York Life's assets under management.

Hung, a longtime investment banker with Morgan Stanley, joined New York Life Investment Management in 2010 as head of alternative investments and, after several promotions, was named CEO in 2015.

She has grown the business by pursuing acquisitions of boutique asset managers in the United States and abroad and expanding the products it offers. The purchases of IndexIQ and Credit Value Partners have added exchange-traded funds and distressed debt to its U.S. investment options. Meanwhile, purchases of asset managers in Europe and Australia, along with continued expansion in Asia, are big reasons nearly half of all its assets are now managed overseas, compared with just 8% a few years ago.

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Hung said that the company needed to diversify if it hoped to continue providing meaningful returns to its customers — New York Life policyholders — in what has been prolonged low-interest environment. "Emerging markets are fast-growing. Europe is the world's second-largest asset management market. I felt that by not having a presence outside of the U.S. we were missing out on a significant opportunity," she said.

Policyholders certainly appreciate her efforts. Earlier this year, New York Life's board approved a total dividend payout of $1.77 billion, the highest in the insurer's 172-year history.

As the asset management business has grown, so too has Hung's stature at New York Life. She is now the highest-ranking woman at the company and earlier this year was named to its 12-person executive management committee.

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