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GPIF on hunt for alternatives investment managers

Japan’s $1.1 trillion pension fund is hiring investment professionals to lead investments in alternatives, including private equity.

The Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan (GPIF), the world’s biggest manager of retirement savings, is looking to hire in-house investment managers for alternatives.

According to a job posting published on the fund’s website Wednesday, GPIF is hiring separate professionals to lead investments in each of the three classes, namely private equity, real estate and infrastructure.

For the post of private equity investment manager, (translated from Japanese), GPIF has called for applicants with more than three years of operational experience as an investor or an investment manager of a private equity fund.

Similarly, the requirements for the real estate and infrastructure investment manager role include three years of operational experience as an investor or an investment manager of a real estate or an infrastructure fund.

The deadline for applications has been listed as September 4, 2015.

The news of GPIF expanding its in-house portfolio management team comes amid widespread speculation about the next steps in the $1.1 trillion pension funds’ portfolio overhaul, which was officially announced in November last year.

Hiring investment managers for specific asset classes would lay the groundwork for the fund’s stated goals of investing five percent of its portfolio in alternatives.

In an interview with Pensions&Investments in June this year, Hiromichi Mizuno, GPIF’s executive managing director and chief investment officer, called the five percent allocation figure for alternatives “an opportunity, not an obligation,” further adding that “as soon as GPIF builds a team and sees compelling opportunities, we hope to be a significant player in private markets.”

GPIF’s rebalanced investment framework is part of the fund’s overall plans of diversifying its bond-heavy portfolio toward greater exposure to domestic and international equities. There has been no separate category created within alternatives sectors; real estate, private equity and infrastructure investments are to be clubbed together under domestic and international bonds and equities.

Mizuno, who was previously a partner at the London-based private equity secondary market investor Coller Capital, was hired by GPIF as its first head of investment in late November last year.