High-risk improper investments suspected at 32 pension funds

JIJI

Numerous pension funds may have been making improper investments using surplus administrative money, according to welfare minister Norihisa Tamura.

A total of 32 pension funds are suspected of having been investing surpluses from administrative money in high-risk financial products, including foreign investment trusts, Tamura told a news conference Tuesday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to instruct them to end such investments, which are banned, he said.

According to the ministry, pension funds have accounts to manage office expenses such as rents and salaries for workers, which are separate from accounts for managing pension assets.

Apparently, none of the pension funds used pension assets to cover losses from the risky investments, and none suffered losses that would affect the payment of salaries.

The ministry declined to disclose the names of the pension funds, but at least half of them are believed to be “kosei nenkin kikin” add-on pension funds for corporate employees.

The sloppy management of assets by pension funds came to light after the revelation last year that AIJ Investment Advisors Co. lost most of the pension assets entrusted to it by kosei nenkin kikin funds.