Nippon Life Insurance to Boost Hedge Fund Investments

Bloomberg – Nippon Life Insurance Co., Japan’s biggest life insurer, said it will boost hedge fund investments and may target distressed assets to take advantage of volatility caused by the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market.

Nippon Life, with about 100 billion yen ($920 million) in hedge funds, increased its allocation to this asset class by about 30 billion yen during the past two years in a trend it intends to continue, Hideya Sadanaga, deputy general manager of the firm’s Credit & Alternative Investment Department, said in an interview in Tokyo.

The global credit crisis that’s caused more than $500 billion of losses and writedowns at financial firms has increased volatility in debt markets and led to a 20 percent decline in the value of the 1,737 companies on the MSCI World Index this year.

“There will be investment opportunities in the credit and distressed asset class eventually, given this market environment,” said Hiroshi Aikawa, head of alternative investment at office at Nippon Life’s Nissay Asset Management Corp., in the same interview on Sept. 5. “Investments that profit from trading volatility also look attractive.”

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