Nissay Asset Management Corporation, the asset management arm of Japan’s largest private life insurer by assets Nippon Life Insurance, is looking to invest more actively in India.
“To diversify our portfolio across the Asian market, we’re looking at India more actively,” Yuka Hata, chief portfolio manager of alternative and fund investment for Nissay told Private Equity International.
She added: “The timing is right because the market has become more consolidated over the years. With the deal opportunities and availability of capital in India as well as current conditions of portfolios, we feel more comfortable investing now compared with the past.”
When asked about specific strategies, Hata said the firm is looking at opportunities broadly including buyouts, venture capital, growth capital, and special situations in the country. She added that the firm is not currently looking at sector-focused funds specifically, nor do they have a target allocation.
Hata also pointed that Nissay has historically taken a more conservative approach in Asia and invested mainly in the top pan-Asia funds. She said the firm intends to rebalance its portfolio with increased investments in country-specific managers.
Nissay, which has $72 billion in assets under management, is 90 percent owned by parent company Nippon Life Insurance, while Boston-based investment firm Putnam US Holdings owns the remaining 10 percent.
The firm has around $5 billion invested in private equity funds and direct infrastructure investments. Hata declined to disclose Nissay’s private equity investments.
Meanwhile Nippon Life, which manages over $4 billion of private equity investments globally, allocates around 15 percent of its private equity portfolio to Asia.
Both Nippon Life and Nissay already have existing relationships with Indian asset managers. The Japanese insurer has a 26 percent stake in Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM) and Reliance Life Insurance Company, while Nissay and RCAM launched two mutual funds in 2014 for Japanese retail investors.
Nippon Life is among a growing number of global institutional investors increasing their exposure to India on the back of improving economic fundamentals, strong IPO activity and a nationwide bank clean-up.
In March 2016 Canadian giant CPPIB teamed up with Kotak Mahindra Group to invest up to $525 million in stressed assets in India, while another Canadian heavyweight La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec set up its first office in India in the same month and said it would commit $150 million to renewable energy investments in the country over the next three to four years. Meanwhile the Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings, which acquired Hyderabad-based Care Hospitals in December 2015, said it was looking for investments across consumption-related industries in India.