Controversial overseas investments with a low yield and a lack of clear objectives are said to be deterring potential candidates from heading China's sovereign wealth fund, Xinhua reported.
The top post at China Investment Corporation has been left vacant since March when former head Lou Jiwei became finance minister.
Candidates rumored to succeed Lou include Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan and Shanghai deputy mayor Tu Guangshao among others. But several reportedly have refused to take up the post.
Xinhua quoted the official Beijing Youth Daily as saying numerous issues were deterring them.
The sovereign wealth fund invested a total of US$8.5 billion (HK$66.3 billion) in Blackstone and Morgan Stanley, whose share prices dropped significantly during the 2008 financial crisis. Even now, Blackstone's shares trade below what CIC paid for them.
The report also said overseas politicians are not comfortable seeing a Chinese company become a controlling shareholder in one of their major firms.
Surprisingly, CIC has been keen on the property market and a unit bought eight plots in Tinjian last year for 4.67 billion yuan (HK$6.02 billion).
CIC's accumulated annualized return since inception in 2007 is 3.8 percent, largely driven by returns from its unit Central Huijin Investment, which partly owns all of China's top four banks. CATHY WU