GPIF appoints first head of investment

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund has appointed a senior private equity executive and partner at Coller Capital to lead its investments, following a strategy overhaul earlier this month.

The ¥127.26 trillion ($1.074 trillion; €888.9 billion) Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan (GPIF), the world’s biggest manager of retirement savings, has appointed Hiromichi Mizuno as its first head of investment. 

Mizuno will assume the role of an executive managing director and chief investment officer starting January 5, 2015, a statement released from the pension fund this morning said. 

Mizuno joined GPIF’s Investment Advisory Committee earlier this year in July according to a statement from the country’s health ministry, which oversees the fund. 

He is currently partner at London-based private equity secondary market investor, Coller Capital, where he is responsible for origination, execution and monitoring of investments. Prior to joining Coller Capital in 2003, he held various executive positions at the Japanese financial services firm Sumitomo Trust. He also serves on many advisory committees, including ICICI Venture Fund, Advantage Partners, and Globis Fund.

The news of the appointment comes after GPIF, in a much-awaited policy asset review announced on October 31, diversified its bond-heavy portfolio towards greater exposure to domestic and international equities. 

It also allocated 5 percent to alternative investments – the first time the category was mentioned in the official policy – in addition to revealing plans of setting up a dedicate in-house team to seek investments in real estate, private equity and infrastructure. Instead of creating a separate category, however, alternatives remain clubbed under domestic and international bonds and equities. 

In the beginning of 2014, it also set up an alternatives unit and hired four people to oversee investments. Speaking to Infrastructure Investor's sister publication PERE in April, Tokihiko Shimizu, president of GPIF, said that the firm eventually plans to increase the team size to 10.