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GPIF’s chief investment officer to step down

As Japan’s $1.5trn Government Pension Investment Fund appoints its president

Hiromichi Mizuno (pictured), the executive managing director and chief investment officer at the world’s biggest pension fund (GPIF), will step down, the Japanese Nikkei Asian Review has reported.

His term should have ended in December 2019 but was extended to the end of March, Bloomberg said, and resulted in wider leadership changes of the fund.

It is not known what his next steps will be.

The GPIF announced simultaneously the appointment of its next president, Masataka Miyazato.

From 1 April, he will assume his post and replace Norihiro Takahashi, whose term will end at the end of March, the Nikkei wrote.

Miyazato previously served as deputy president at agricultural lender Norinchukin Bank and, most recently, as the president of the Pension Fund Association, the Nikkei reported.

ESG ambassador

Mizuno has been an advocate of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments after he joined the fund in January 2015.

His efforts came as part of Abenomics, a set of policies introduced by prime minister Shinzo Abe’s government, which seek to accelerate the sustainable growth of companies.

The GPIF has integrated ESG factors into its general portfolio and ¥3.5trn (€29.1bn) of its assets under management track ESG indices, according to its latest 2018 ESG report.

While the fund invests mostly passively, as 90% of GPIF’s equity investments are passive, stewardship, including ESG factors, is one of its key investment principles.

Mizuno has also actively participated in shaping the international ESG debate through membership in organisations such as the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and other initiatives, including Climate Action 100+, which has more than $40trn (€37trn) in assets under management.

In December 2019, Mizuno spoke out against short selling after the fund announced the suspension of stock lending as that wasn’t in line with its responsibilities as a long-term investor.

Most recently, the chief investment officer collaborated with other giant pension funds and declared it will prioritise asset managers with a long-term approach.

Before joining the pension fund, Mizuno was a partner at Coller Capital, a London-based private equity firm.

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