PE Executive To Become First CIO of Japan’s Largest Pension Fund


Japan will appoint a private equity executive, Hiromichi Mizuno, to the newly created Chief Investment Officer post at the Government Pension Investment Fund, the largest public pension fund in the world.

Hiromichi Mizuno is a partner at private equity firm Coller Capital.

More details from the Wall Street Journal:

The appointment would put the 49-year-old from central Japan in control of the world’s biggest fund of its kind as it tries to boost returns with more aggressive investments.

Mr. Mizuno would be a big catch for the fund, which has struggled to attract outside talent because of low salaries and a small budget. Despite its size, the GPIF’s roughly 80 employees are squeezed into one floor of a 1970s office building in downtown Tokyo and most of its investments are managed by outside asset management firms.

Mr. Mizuno was educated in the U.S. and speaks fluent English, which addresses concerns of foreign investment firms that had trouble working with GPIF.


The GPIF is headed by its president, Takahiro Mitani, who has ultimate decision making power under the current law, but Mr. Mizuno would be de facto in charge of overseeing important investment decisions. Rather than make investments himself, Mr. Mizuno will spend more time choosing professional fund managers to oversee portions of the fund’s investments.

Mr. Mizuno joined the GPIF as an adviser and a member of its investment committee, an eight-member group that advises the fund part-time, in July. At a news conference last month, Mr. Mitani said described Mr. Mizuno’s expertise in private equity as “invaluable.”

The Government Pension Investment Fund manages $1.1 trillion in assets.


Photo by Ville Miettinen via Flickr CC License

Pension Reform in Illinois Likely to Look Different Under Rauner If Supreme Court Rejects Current Law

Bruce Rauner

Under Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois passed a sweeping pension overhaul that cut COLAs and raised retirement ages for some workers.

But the state Supreme Court could reject the law. If that happens, it will be Bruce Rauner who will be able to shape reform legislation, which will likely look different than Quinn’s. From the Wall Street Journal:

Confronting the nation’s worst state pension shortfall was the top concern of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The same will likely be true for Bruce Rauner, his newly elected successor.

The Illinois Supreme Court in coming months could dump the $100 billion problem in the lap of Mr. Rauner, who defeated Mr. Quinn on Tuesday to become the state’s first Republican governor in more than a decade.

A year ago, Mr. Quinn, a Democrat, won passage of a bill that lowered future pension costs by shrinking cost-of-living increases for retirees and raising retirement ages for younger employees, among other steps. State workers and retirees challenged the law, and a recent ruling by Illinois’s top court signaled the justices may end up overturning the law.

Mr. Rauner, who was a longtime private-equity executive before deciding to run for governor, has said he favors moving to a 401(k)-style system over pensions, but the shape that would take at the state capitol remains to be seen. Mr. Rauner was quiet the day after his big victory and his campaign declined an interview request.

Part of the challenge for any plan for Mr. Rauner will be getting it through the Democratic-controlled legislature. Many there agree the state has a big problem, but Mr. Quinn had a bruising fight with his own party to broker a deal.

To be sure, Illinois will continue to be a focus of the national debate that’s raging over how to fix ailing public pension systems. But on Tuesday, the Land of Lincoln wasn’t alone in having the issue play a role in the elections.

Bruce Rauner gives some hints about what his plans for pension reform would look like on his website:

I believe we must choose to address this problem head-on. No tinkering around the edges.

We must boldly reform our pension system. To do that, we can:

– Ensure pay and benefits do not rise faster than the rate of inflation.

– Eliminate the ability of government employees to receive massive pay raises before they retire just to increase their pension.

– Cap the current system and move towards a defined contribution system.