The Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest, on Friday confirmed it lost a staggering ¥5.3 trillion in fiscal 2015 as the decline in global markets spelled bad news for its controversial shift from Japanese government bonds to equities.
GPIF said its rate of return was minus 3.81 percent for the year ended March 31.
The report came amid public criticism that a change in GPIF’s investment policy in 2014 that increased its equity holdings has increased the risk at the public pension fund.
GPIF said its long-term performance remains sound. It said it has made ¥45.4 trillion in accumulated returns since its inception in 2001, bringing its average return rate to 2.7 percent over the past 15 years.
“In October 2014, we revised our policy asset mix to a more diversified one, to achieve the investment return required for the public pension scheme,” GPIF President Norihiko Takahashi said in its annual operations review for fiscal 2015, released Friday.
The new investment policy “did result in considerable fluctuations in value over the short term, but the risks to our ability to secure the reserve needed over the long term have lessened,” Takahashi claimed. “We intend to continue efforts to explain this to the public in understandable ways.”
At a news conference later Friday, Takahashi said he “humbly recognizes” the financial loss for fiscal 2015 but also emphasized that the fund’s investments should be viewed from a long-term perspective at the same time.
Takahashi said the BOJ’s ultra-loose monetary policy, particularly the recently shift to negative interest rates, has pushed down long-term rates and made it difficult for investors to earn much from Japanese government bonds.
“We have expanded investment in stocks, particularly in domestic ones. This is a big advantage for us, although there may be fluctuations in stock prices,” he said.
On the same day, GPIF released for the first time a list of major stock and bond issues it holds as of March 2014.
The domestic stock breakdown shows that Toyota Motor Corp. tops the list with a market value of ¥1.55 trillion, followed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. at ¥822.9 billion, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. at ¥517.3 billion and Honda Motor Co. at ¥507.9 billion.
Apple Inc. topped its foreign stock holdings with a value of ¥602.5 billion, followed by Exxon Mobil Corp. at ¥278.4 billion and Microsoft Corp. at ¥277.7 billion.
As for foreign bonds, U.S. Treasurys topped the list at ¥6.53 trillion, followed by Italian government bonds valued at ¥1.57 trillion and French bonds at ¥1.37 trillion.
The Democratic Party criticized the government for waiting until three weeks after the Upper House election to reveal the loss.
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