Japan's Employees' Pension Funds are expected to be freed from onerous investment rules sometime early next year, at least one year earlier than expected.
A decision on exactly when the so-called 5-3-3-2 rules for EPFs should be scrapped is expected by the end of the year, said Ryu Jubishi, director of the pension and welfare department in New York of the Japan External Trade Organization.
However, EPFs - typically the larger corporate funds in Japan - still will have to use trust banks and insurance companies in Japan to run at least half of their assets until April 1999; investment advisers will be able to handle the other half.
Starting last year, some EPF sponsors were allowed to apply for dispensations from the 5-3-3-2 rules.
Under the rules, funds must keep at least 50% of assets in principal-guaranteed investments, while only up to 30% can be in Japanese equities, 30% in foreign securities and 20% in real estate.