GPIF seeks new domestic passive equity managers to enhance stewardship

Japan's ¥144.8 trillion ($1.3 trillion) Government Pension Investment Fund is searching for new passive Japanese equities managers to register with the Tokyo-based fund.

Shinichiro Mori, deputy director-general of GPIF's investment strategy department, said in an email the fund is looking for managers not currently overseeing passive domestic equity mandates for GPIF to register with the internal system the fund established last year to allow for more flexibility in changing its manager lineup.

A GPIF statement said the move would “strengthen our stewardship activities going forward.”

The registration system will open for managers of passive domestic equity strategies on March 27. The process for reviewing new managers will start June 1. Information on registering is available on the GPIF's website.

The statement said GPIF will review each applicant's “comprehensive business model, including investment process, stewardship activity policy, organization and fee structure.”

The stewardship-focused call for passive managers is unrelated to GPIF's ongoing move to adopt ESG-focused indexes for domestic equities, said Mr. Mori.

As of the March 31, 2016, close of GPIF's latest fiscal year, five managers — DIAM Asset Management, BlackRock (BLK) Japan, Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp. — managed just less than ¥25 trillion in passive domestic equity strategies for the fund. In October, a new money management unit was created called Asset Management One Co., which includes DIAM and Mizuho Trust & Banking's asset management business.