The Japan Investment Advisors Association (JIAA) and others publish several data sets covering asset management and related markets in Japan. IJ examines the data to highlight facts and trends of interest to our international readers.
Below, we identify the JIAA survey’s most trusted managers in Japan of so-called “other” assets, including multi-asset strategies and alternative assets. Though named “others,” multi-asset strategies and alternative assets are not insignificant in Japan’s investment landscape.

Recently, as fixed income asset yields have dropped, alternatives such as private equity (PE), real estate, and infrastructure have become popular choices among Japanese pension funds. Some pension managers found their must-have stable income in real estate funds. Others, aiming at a higher return over the long-term, have selected PE or infra funds. Such a change would have been unimaginable 10 years ago, when most pension managers shied away on principle from any financial instruments of low liquidity.

The multi-asset strategy has regained popularity in the mid-2010s, in part, because pension funds facing harder market conditions decided to outsource some portfolio management to professional asset managers. In reality, however, this type of outsourcing is not unfamiliar to Japanese pension funds. So-called "balanced funds," provided by trust banks and life insurers, were the only choice available until a change in regulations in 1997. "Balanced funds" consisting of stocks, bonds and real estate, can now be classified as multi-assets strategies, and even today some are sold as "balanced funds."

Although the JIAA survey doesn't offer a clear picture of the leading managers in multi-assets and in alternatives in Japan, we have identified some standouts.

The top 10 managers of the "others"

According to the JIAA survey as of the end of June 2019, the top 10 asset management companies ranked in the "others" category in order of assets under management (AUM) are:

1. Nissay Asset Management JPY 2,788 billion
2. NN Investment Management JPY 2,017 billion
3. Asset Management One JPY 1,920 billion
4. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management (SMTAM) JPY 1,884 billion
5. BlackRock Japan JPY 1,420 billion
6. Tokio Marine Asset Management JPY 1,391 billion
7. PGIM Japan JPY 1,280 billion
8. State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) JPY 1,180 billion
9. DBJ Asset Management JPY 1,017 billion
10. Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management JPY 819 billion