November 26, 2012 / 10:21 AM / 5 years ago

Japan's GPIF to conduct studies for alternative asset investment

TOKYO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s biggest public pension fund, said it has selected four companies to conduct feasibility studies for its possible future investments in alternative assets, including private equity.

GPIF, which holds 108.2 trillion yen ($1.31 trillion) in assets, almost about the size of the Australian economy, is keen to diversify its massive portfolio to generate higher long-term investment returns.

The fund has been paying out more in benefits to pensioners than it receives in contributions to the national pension system since the 2009/10 financial year as the Japanese population is ageing rapidly.

GPIF has selected Japanese law firm Atsumi & Sakai, Swiss private equity fund firm Capital Dynamics, Japanese life insurer-backed asset firm T&D Asset Management and Tokyo-based independent private equity consultant firm Brightrust PE Japan for the feasibility studies.

They are required to complete their studies by end-March, 2013.

The results of the studies will be presented to the public and to the members of fund’s investment committee for review in the future, a GPIF official said.

GPIF Chairman Takahiro Mitani told Reuters in October that the public fund is considering whether to diversify into infrastructure, private equity and property, although not into hedge funds.

The fund has already diversified its assets by starting to invest in emerging markets equities earlier this year.

The fund makes allocations in line with its model portfolio, which currently gives a weighting of 11 percent to domestic stocks, 67 percent to domestic bonds, 9 percent to foreign stocks, 8 percent to foreign bonds and 5 percent to short-term assets.

The portion of emerging markets equities was allocated from GPIF’s foreign equities portfolio. ($1 = 82.3700 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Chikafumi Hodo; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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