GPIF Hires BlackRock Among Managers for Shift Away From Bonds

Japan’s public pension fund, the world’s largest, hired three managers to help it shift money from local bonds into stocks and foreign investments.

The Government Pension Investment Fund named BlackRock Japan Co. and Nomura Asset Management Co. as transition managers for domestic equities, according to a statement Thursday. BlackRock will also help the fund move its international bond holdings, while Russell Investments Japan Co. was hired for foreign stocks.

GPIF in October unveiled the most radical investment strategy changes in the fund’s history, doubling its targets for Japanese and global shares while paring holdings of domestic debt. The fund carves up its 137 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) between dozens of asset managers, handing out four additional mandates for domestic and overseas stocks in February.

The transition managers will help with the move to new fund managers for each asset class, GPIF spokesman Naoki Katagiri said by phone in November after the fund called for applications for the roles.

The pension savings manager in October set allocation targets of 25 percent each for Japanese and overseas equities, up from 12 percent. It boosted foreign bonds to 15 percent from 11 percent, and cut local debt to 35 percent from 60 percent. Alternative investments can make up as much as 5 percent of holdings.

GPIF chooses asset managers with a mix of funds that perform well in a bad economy as well as ones that prosper in times of growth, an official said in minutes of a Feb. 23 investment committee meeting, which were also published Thursday.

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