Japan's ¥139.8 trillion ($1.32 trillion) Government Pension Investment Fund announced Thursday it has established “forums” to engage with select groups of Japanese companies and overseas asset owners on environmental, social and governance issues.
The business and asset owner's forum was set up to enhance the GPIF's stewardship activities through regular dialogue with executives of companies listed on the Tokyo stock exchange.
Against the backdrop of broader business concerns that the GPIF's roughly ¥32 trillion of investments in domestic stocks could give the fund too much influence over companies, a GPIF spokesman Thursday confirmed that the business forum was set up in response to expressions of interest from Japanese companies, including Nissan Motor Corp. and OMRON Corp.
A first meeting in September will be attended by about 10 companies, with others welcome to join subsequent gatherings to be held twice a year, a GPIF news release said.
The news release said officials hoped those discussions could “contribute to an optimal and efficient investment chain through our stewardship activities by feedback … to our external asset managers” and overseas asset owners as well.
Separately, the GPIF said it will establish a “Global Asset Owners' Forum” later this year, to learn from institutional investors overseas with sophisticated approaches to ESG-related activities.
The spokesman said GPIF officials sought out institutional investors with deep experience on ESG-related matters to participate in the forum; frequency of meetings and other details are not yet decided.
In the news release, the GPIF said it will look to capitalize on the experience of those overseas investors, and build on those lessons when engaging with both Japanese companies and the GPIF's external managers.
The news release said roughly 20 overseas institutional investors have agreed to participate in the forum, including the California State Teachers' Retirement System, California Public Employees' Retirement System, Florida State Board of Administration, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, University of California Board of Regents, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Universities Superannuation Scheme, Legal & General Investment Management (U.K.), PGGM and APG.