Japan's GPIF posts record annual return on equity rally
By Takashi Umekawa
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) on Friday declared a record investment return of 37.8 trillion yen ($338.8 billion) for the year ended March 31, raking in the benefits of a robust rally in global stock markets.
GPIF heavily relies on a passive index-tracking strategy so its returns usually mirror market movement. Japan's Nikkei stock index rose 55% in the last financial year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced more than 50%, as market sentiment rose in tandem with progress made in pandemic-busting vaccination programmes worldwide.
The world's largest pension fund, which managed 186.2 trillion yen worth of assets as of March-end, said in a statement it had an annual return of 14.7 trillion yen on domestic stocks and 20.7 trillion yen on foreign equities.
It said January-March return was 10 trillion yen.
GPIF's investments are closely watched by global investors because of the fund's sheer size. GPIF has recently shifted its portfolio away from unprofitable domestic bonds toward higher-yielding foreign assets, given ultra-low interest rates at home.
Foreign bond holdings made up 24.61% of GPIF's assets under management in January-March, compared with a record high of 25.71% in the previous quarter.
Holdings of Japanese bonds were at 25.92%, up from a record low of 23.64% in October-December.
To diversify its portfolio, GPIF has put more focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment as global investors warm to that rapidly expanding market segment.
The fund poured around 10.6 trillion yen into ESG-related domestic and foreign equities as of March-end, compared to a 5.7 trillion yen a year earlier.
(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Christopher Cushing)
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