Japan’s Ark plucks JPMorgan exec

Hidenori Suzuki will help the placement agent develop ties with Japan's pension funds.

Tokyo-based placement agent Ark Alternative Advisors has hired Hidenori Suzuki as executive vice president amid rising expectations for Japanese pension fund investments, according to Tuck Furuya, Ark’s other executive vice president. 

Suzuki previously worked at JPMorgan Asset Management (Japan), where he was head of the advisory group. He also has pension fund experience from Mercer Japan, where he worked as a senior consultant for pension management and investments. Prior to that, he was a senior researcher on pension investment strategies at Japan’s Research Institute for Policies on Pension & Aging.

Suzuki’s role will be senior relationship manager for both public and corporate pensions and financial institutions, Furuya said. As a seasoned executive, Suzuki’s network and his previous experience with Japanese pension funds will support Ark's efforts, he added.

“We believe there will be a ripple effect as pension funds such as GPIF shift to private equity. More pension funds in Japan see GPIF as a benchmark [for investing].”

Ark also received a capital injection from Totan Holdings, an inter-dealer broker that was established in 1900 and is well-known in the domestic investment community, Furuya said. Totan will hold a 65 percent stake in Ark, which will be renamed “Ark Totan Alternative” later this month.

Furuya said Totan will not be involved in day-to-day operations but its long history in Japan, brand and deep network will lend gravitas to Ark, which was founded in 2010. 

In addition, last year Ark received approval from Japanese regulators to become an asset manager, which allows the firm to deal directly with LPs. In Japan, pension funds are required to go through a third-party asset manager in order to make investments.

Founded in 2010, Tokyo-based Ark Alternative Advisors is a placement agent focused on raising Japanese capital for private equity funds. Clients have included Japanese private equity firms Ant Capital and ACA, a Japanese small cap buyout firm. Ark also works with Eaton Partners to help their offshore clients raise Japanese capital and is currently assisting fund managers from France and the UK, Furuya said.