Business / Economy

GPIF seeks fund managers to meet new investment targets

Bloomberg

The Government Pension Investment Fund may use a private seminar next month to inform potential job applicants as part of its efforts to recruit professional money managers to the world’s largest investor of retirement savings.

Yasuhiro Yonezawa, chairman of the investment committee at the $1.1 trillion fund, is expected to discuss GPIF’s reforms and the qualifications it wants from future staff, said Nobukiyo Akiyama, an executive at Kotora Co., an executive search firm which is organizing the Feb. 13 event.

GPIF is seeking to hire experienced investors as it shifts to riskier assets from bonds in anticipation of faster inflation under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Hiromichi Mizuno, a former partner of London-based private-equity firm Coller Capital Ltd., became its first chief investment officer this month.

“The fund will have to obtain professionals that have know-how and skills for private equity, venture capital and real-estate investments following the reform, besides back-office staff,” Akiyama, manager of the chief executive officer’s office at the Tokyo-based executive search firm, said in a recent interview. “That’s a very specialized area.”

Kotora, which has 20,000 job seekers registered with the firm, plans to invite 80 individual and corporate clients from the asset-management industry to the seminar, which will be held in Tokyo, Akiyama said.

GPIF won flexibility last year to pay higher salaries to attract investment staff instead of government officials. The fund will put half its assets into equities and cut local debt to 35 percent of holdings from 60 percent, it said on Oct. 31. It may also put as much as 5 percent into alternative assets. The fund had 82 staff as of Oct. 1.

“We really need to add experts,” Yasuhisa Shiozaki, a ruling-party lawmaker known for advocating changes at the fund, said in a speech in August before he became Abe’s minister in charge of overseeing public pensions.

“GPIF has less than 100 people, and it’s been said only seven of them are investment professionals, like the seven samurai.”

GPIF plans to hire about 40 people from financial firms to manage the assets, the Nikkei newspaper said last month. The fund may start paying salaries that would exceed President Takahiro Mitani’s approximately ¥17 million of annual compensation, according to the report.

Yonezawa, 64, is also a professor at Waseda University’s Graduate School of Finance.

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