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Japan: How to get to the $18 trillion honey pot - Opalesque Roundtable

 

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Over the next 10-15 years significant amounts of capital from Japanese institutional investors will go into alternative investment vehicles, not only locally and regionally, but also globally.

The non profit Consortium for Japan International Asset Management Center Promotion (JIAM) has been formed with the mission to promote Tokyo as a financial center to attract more alternative and independent asset managers, and also to address some profound financial and social challenges such as having too much cash balance and underutilized household assets; aging society, shrinking population and conservatively allocated public pension funds, and too much dependency on public pension funds whose returns may not be sufficient to compensate for the shrinking and aging society. The Japanese are finding out that in order to enjoy a stable and healthy retirement, it's important to have a diversified asset management community.

United States versus Japan

The United States have 320 million people and Japan about 125 million, so about one-third of the size. Both countries are fully functioning democracies. You might not like the results of the US elections, but there are going to be elections. Japan, like the US, has a diversified, fully developed, modern economy. The US has a $19 trillion and Japan a $5 trillion GDP with pharmaceuticals, autos, steelmaking, ship building, financial services - everything that the US does is also done in Japan.

And then, let's look at hedge funds. There are over 10,000 hedge funds in the United States, and 32 hedge funds in Japan. The disparity of 10,000 vs 32 hedge funds is of course a huge problem and a very unfortunate development given that 20 years ago the only place in Asia with a hedge fund industry was Japan. On the other side, if you are one of those 32 firms think about what advantage they have. If you are based in Tokyo and speak Japanese, you actually have 5,000 pension funds within a 20 minute radius you can go and speak to.

The Opalesque 2018 Japan Roundtable, sponsored by international law firm Ogier and its corporate administration services business, Ogier Global (Cayman) Limited, took place in Tokyo with:

  1. Keiichi Aritomo, Founder, JIAM (The Consortium for Japan International Asset Management Center Promotion)
  2. Masaki Gotoh, Partner, Misaki Capital
  3. Douglas Hymas, Managing Director, Country Executive, BNY Mellon - Japan
  4. Ed Rogers, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer, Rogers Investment Advisors
  5. Kate Hodson, Partner, Ogier
  6. Fiona Barrie, Director, Ogier Global (Cayman) Limited
The group also discussed:
  • How has the Japanese regulator FSA changed over the last years? (page 7,10, 19). The new guidebook on how to open up an investment management business in Japan (page 7). The FSA Fast Track to a license (page 8)
  • Benefits of launching a fund on a platform (page 9)
  • Many new managers launch in Asia - but where are they based? (page 11-12)
  • The explosion of single and multi-family offices in Asia (page 12-13)
  • Tax is still an issue in Japan (page 13, 19)
  • Paradigm changes: Japan realizes need to support SMEs (page 14), the Chinese challenge (page 15-16, 19), Japan has never been colonized - how this affects the country until now (page 16)
  • Japan - the $18 trillion honey pot (page 19, 27). What can foreign investment managers do to manage Japanese money? (page 17). Why capital is the Silver Bullet (page 18). Opportunities for hedge funds and smaller managers in Japan (page 21)
  • How to get fundamental changes in Japan (page 20-21). Why Abe's Third Arrow - Structural Reform - is a success (page 21, 25). Why more governance scandals are positive for Japan (page 22-23). Wage inflation and millennials in Japan (page 24). Insiders' views on Abe and changes in Japan. Why the Japanese are optimistic about the demographic crisis (page 25-26).
  • Increased flows toward alternatives from Japanese investors (page 27-28). Why there is more support for active than passive managers in Japan.

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