Noboru Yamaguchi, 70, a leading pension expert in Japan, died April 4 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Over a span of 17 years, Mr. Yamaguchi oversaw investments for a corporate pension fund, represented corporate pension funds in talks with the Japanese government and played a key consulting role in the industry as senior executive adviser with Nomura Securities Co.'s fiduciary service research center.
He retired from Nomura on March 31.
Mr. Yamaguchi's first foray into the pension world came in 1997, when the 30-year veteran of Japan Travel Bureau Inc. was named executive managing director and chief investment officer of the JTB Pension Fund.
That same year Mr. Yamaguchi took up calligraphy, starting a rapid ascent of the Japanese art form's 10-stage ranking system, which saw him attain master calligrapher status in just over a decade.
Mr. Yamaguchi's rise in the world of pension and retirement-related issues was equally swift.
He took the helm at JTB's pension fund just as regulations controlling investments beyond Japanese government bonds were being eased, and he quickly moved to hire consultants and build a more robust portfolio, said Tsuneo Taguchi, Tokyo-based managing director and director of investments with the JTB pension fund.
Mr. Yamaguchi wasted no time positioning JTB's pension fund at the forefront of reforms and subsequently took the lead — first as chairman of The Corporate Pension Network of Japan and later at Nomura — in areas such as strengthening governance and research on global best practices, noted Seiji Ogishima, managing director and head of Nomura Securities Co.'s fiduciary management department.
Mr. Yamaguchi also led Nomura's partnership with Pensions & Investments in launching the annual P&I/Nomura Global Pension Symposium. The seventh annual symposium was held last November.
Christopher J. Battaglia, group publisher of P&I, said he had never met anyone “who cared more about improving the pension system.” Mr. Yamaguchi was “passionate, tireless, and always had an insatiable curiosity about all things related to pension investing.”
Mr. Yamaguchi is survived by his wife, Chisato, two children and two grandchildren.