Japan Pension Considers Change In Stock Classifications

Japan

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) last month decided to double the amount of assets allocated to domestic and foreign stocks.

Now, the President of the GPIF is considering further changes that would remove the distinction between domestic and foreign stock holdings.

From Bloomberg:

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund is considering whether to overhaul its $389 billion of stock investments by loosening rules that restrict managers to domestic or international equities.

A month after the $1.1 trillion pool unveiled plans to more than double local and foreign share targets so that each makes up 25 percent of assets, Takahiro Mitani, its president, said separating the world into Japan and everywhere else may not be the best approach. GPIF should consider letting some of its managers invest both at home and abroad, he said.

“More funds are investing without discriminating between domestic and foreign, and I think that’s worth considering,” Mitani, 65, said in an interview in Tokyo on Dec. 3. “If choosing between Toyota and Volkswagen, instead of being limited to just Toyota and Nissan, raises investment performance and efficiency, it’s an option we mustn’t rule out.”

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest U.S. public pension, makes no distinction between local and foreign holdings. Calpers, which oversees about $295 billion, has a 51 percent target for public equities, according to its website. GPIF’s stock investments were parceled out to managers in 45 different pieces as of March 31, according to the fund’s annual report.

[…]

GPIF would have to revise its systems to allow one manager to invest across Japanese and non-domestic shares, Mitani said. Alternatively, it could create a new global stock class on top of the existing ones, he said. The fund is due to review foreign equity managers in about 18 months, according to Mitani, who said he plans to retire when his five-year term finishes at the end of March.

Regardless of how it deploys managers, the Japanese fund is looking to put more money in foreign assets at a time when its home currency is slumping. The yen weakened past 120 per dollar for the first time in seven years yesterday.

Here’s what the fund’s asset allocation targets look like after last month’s overhaul:

GPIF’s new portfolio is split into four asset classes: the 25 percent targets for Japanese and foreign stocks, up from 12 percent each; the 35 percent allocation to domestic bonds and 15 percent for foreign debt, an increase from 11 percent. The fund had 18 percent of its holdings invested in Japanese stocks at the end of September.

Government Pension Investment Fund is the largest pension fund in the world. It manages $1.1 trillion in assets.
Photo by Ville Miettinen via Flickr CC License

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