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$1.6trn GPIF ends Hiro Mizuno’s contract as Executive Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer

World's biggest pension fund also announces asset allocation shift

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Japan’s $1.6trn Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest retirement plan, has confirmed that Hiromichi Mizuno, its Executive Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, is to step down from his role.

Mizuno’s role was due to end or be rolled over this month.

GPIF has not yet announced a successor to Mizuno, who started at GPIF in January 2015 and had his term extended in October 2019. 

At GPIF, Mizuno became one of the most important figures in global institutional investment.

He oversaw one of the biggest ever portfolio overhauls by a pension fund, involving a doubling of domestic and international equities and a clear strategy of investing in long-term sustainable assets backed by a highly active corporate governance policy.

GPIF has also announced the appointment of Masataka Miyazono, a former Norinchukin Bank executive and the president of Japan’s Corporate Pension Association, as its new President, effective April 1.

GPIF’s current chairman, Norihiro Takahashi (62), will retire at the end of his term at the end of March. 

The giant Japanese fund also announced that it is changing its asset allocation to increase the portion of foreign bonds in its portfolio to 25%, due to the low interest rate on Japanese government bonds. It said the reallocation to high-yield foreign bonds could cause the yen to weaken. Domestic and foreign stocks, which each represent a further 25% of the portfolio, will be held at the same allocation level.

Separately, the $250bn California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which recently announced it had joined forces with Japan’s GPIF and UK-based USS Investment Management to address market short termism, has announced that Jack Ehnes, its CEO, will postpone retirement to serve as CEO through to June 30, 2021. 

Ehnes had announced that he would retire in September after 18 years in the role.

However, the fund’s board asked him to stay to enable them to postpone the executive search for a new CEO and focus right now on appropriately responding to the coronavirus crisis.