263 asset managers face FSA probe

Kyodo

The Financial Services Agency started a probe Monday into 263 asset management firms operating in Japan to gain a picture of the whole industry, after learning that AIJ Investment Advisors Co. lied to clients about its fund performance, sources said.

The financial watchdog has begun preliminary work for a full probe, consulting with asset managers and related authorities about how to proceed with the probe, the sources said.

The move comes after the agency, working in cooperation with the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, learned Tokyo-based AIJ was unable to explain the whereabouts of most of the ¥210 billion in corporate pension funds it had managed. The FSA ordered AIJ to halt its business Friday.

AIJ had attracted clients by touting stable profits from investments in stock index options and was famous as an asset manager paying good dividends, even during the financial turmoil after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.