Partners Group boosts Tokyo team with Sony Life hire

Mamoru Numata, former manager of alternative investments and new business development at the insurance giant, will help Partners build relationships with Japan’s institutional investors.

Partners Group has boosted its Tokyo office with the appointment of Mamoru Numata as vice president of investment solutions Asia Pacific. Numata joins from insurance giant Sony Life, where he was the manager of alternative investments and new business development.

Numata, who started at Partners Group on 1 March, will be covering client relationships within Japan, where, he told PE Asia, the opportunity for the firm was “quite large”. He reports to Reto Schwager, who heads the investment solutions Asia Pacific team and is based in Singapore.

Numata will also be sourcing Japanese GPs and Japanese direct investments for Partners Group, he said, adding that the firm would like to focus more on the small- to mid-sized deal space both in terms of directs and fund commitments.

Numata brings the number of professionals in Partners Group’s Tokyo office, which opened in 2007, to four. The team includes senior vice president Junichiro Kawamura, who heads the Tokyo office and was Partners Group's first hire in Japan.

His role at Sony Life, where he had been a member of the private equity investment team for 11 years, will for now be absorbed by Takuro Ito, the insurance company’s manager for private equity, Ito told PE Asia. However, Ito added that they might look to bring someone new onto the team after April.

Numata said that he had instigated his departure from Sony Life as he was keen to stay within the private equity industry. At Japanese institutions, it is common for managers to be rotated through different departments.

Sony Life, which has $40 billion in assets under management, is unusual among Japanese LPs in that private equity is the only alternative investment strategy it commits to. An investor in the asset class since 1999, it currently allocates up to 2 percent of its total AuM to PE globally and has already committed $800 million to investments.

In an interview with PE Asia last year, Numata commented that Sony Life would like to increase its allocation to Japanese domestic private equity funds, but that there were not enough GPs to invest in. 

“It’s not just a question of needing more GPs in the space, but better ones,” he said at the time. “There is plenty of opportunity in management succession at companies and in divestments from big companies – the issue is whether GPs are able to make deals or not. You have to know whether a GP has the capability to make a deal.”

Last November, Partners Group opened its fifth office in Asia in Seoul, promoting Alex Cho to “senior vice president and head of Korea” in the process. The firm, which currently has more than €20 billion of capital under management across private equity, private debt, private real estate and private infrastructure, also has offices in Beijing, Singapore and Australia.