I’ve recently joined Carne as Lead Director for Carne Japan, where I’m responsible for helping the business grow its presence in Japan and to provide on the ground local support to our Japanese clients. Prior to joining Carne, I worked for Mizuho Trust & Banking in Luxembourg. Throughout my ten years leading business planning, I was involved in developing the fund administration side of the business including business promotion, onboarding and client services for large Japanese financial institutions. I also worked actively with investment managers, trustees, fund lawyers and auditors. Prior to Mizuho Trust & Banking Luxembourg, I worked for five years at UBP Investments Company Ltd. where I was responsible for sales and client support for alternative fund products to institutional investors in Japan.
My experience with Japanese institutional investors and their affiliate companies dates back to 1998 when I was responsible for the sale of fixed income products at IBJ Securities, an affiliate of the Industrial Bank of Japan, now Mizuho Financial Group. Prior to this I worked within operations and was also in charge of corporates.
One of the main reasons I joined Carne was the opportunity to lead and be part of the company’s ambitious plans for the Japanese market, building a significant relationship with Japanese promoters and investors who are looking to structure their fund ranges through European and other domiciles. There is a belief within the industry that business of fund related service providers (such as fund management companies, administrators and custodians) are less risky and therefore less sensitive to the market, providing relatively stable fee income and profit. However, providers are constantly exposed to new and complex regulations such as UCITS, AIFMD and the Volcker Rule, which leaves Japanese investors exposed to an ever-changing regulatory environment. As a market leader in providing fund management solutions, Carne can advise and assist investors with the challenges that they may face in the Japanese Market.
In Japanese yen and certain European currencies, negative interest rates have accelerated the increase of institutional investments in very illiquid assets. As interest rates have remained low for many years institutional investors are more willing to trade off liquidity for the opportunity of achieving higher yields. As a result, I have had the opportunity to support many promoters to set up fund schemes for illiquid investments such as real estate, infrastructure and project finance loans.
There are also cultural and regulatory gaps between Japan and offshore fund domiciles. The market of Japanese domiciled investment trust is huge and well established, and Japanese investors and asset managers are familiar with such Japanese investment schemed. One of the expectations is that service providers present efficient solutions to cover such gaps, satisfying both regulatory requirements and clients’ demands, something that Carne has proven to be very adept at doing.
Carne’s blue chip Japanese client base has been built up over many years, and I’m now happy to be moving back to Tokyo, after a number of years living in Luxembourg, to strengthen the company’s presence and enhance our overall relationship with the Japanese market and clients.