Pantheon boosts Asian infra business with Tokyo office

The outpost will focus on investor relations, especially infrastructure client service, it is understood.

UK fund of funds manager Pantheon has set up its seventh international office in Tokyo to boost its infrastructure client service business catering for one of the world’s largest saving pools.

A source familiar with the matter told Infrastructure Investor that there will be an emphasis on infrastructure client service in Japan, given the focus of local mandates. It is not an investment office, the source added.

It is understood that the office will also focus investor relations and market research. Another source noted a growing interest in alternative asset classes from Japanese investors, with increasingly sophisticated requirements.

Pantheon declined to comment on its business in Tokyo or local mandates.

The firm said in a statement that the local Japanese office, Pantheon’s third in Asia after Hong Kong and Seoul, will be led by Akitoshi Yamada, who was deputy general manager at Nippon Life for four years. He was previously managing director and head of Japan at subsidiary Nippon Life International.

Also hired were Ryo Okazaki, who has joined as vice-president in client service from Mitsubishi Corporation Asset Management, and Makiko Hagiwara, compliance officer and office manager.

“We are humbled to have been chosen by our Japanese clients to manage their private asset programmes and look forward to furthering long and prosperous relationships with them,” said Paul Ward, Pantheon’s managing partner.

The Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan, the world’s largest pension with $1.5 trillion under management, awarded its second infrastructure fund of fund mandate to Pantheon with Nomura Asset Management as a gatekeeper in February this year. The Japanese institution has been seeking to increase its exposure to alternatives with a maximum allocation at 5 percent of its portfolio. On Monday, it received government approval to make direct fund investments.

Pantheon had $38.8 billion assets under management as of the end of 2017, including $6.3 billion in infrastructure and real assets. It invests in a mix of core operational and growth-oriented assets through a thematic investment approach across the infrastructure and real assets spectrum.