Japan’s Plaza loses US$104.5 million of EPF investments

22 May 2014   Category: News, Asia, Global, Japan   By Maya Ando

Tokyo-based Plaza Asset Management lost a total of 10.6 billion yen (US$104.5 million) invested by 14 employee pension funds (EPFs), officials in the country announced this week.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the EPFs had invested in two funds managed by Plaza, whose assets had subsequently lost all of their value.

At the end of March last year, the 14 EPFs had a total of 10.6 billion yen invested in these funds.

The announcement by health and welfare officials comes after Japan’s Financial Services Agency in July last year reprimanded Plaza. The agency had warned the firm for signing discretionary contracts with investors without sufficient explanation, despite the funds investing in US life insurance policies that were suffering financial difficulties at the time.

The Plaza case is the latest setback for Japan’s scandal-hit pensions industry. Two years ago, advisory firm AIJ Investment Advisors was embroiled in a fraud relating to the loss of 109 billion yen in pension investments. AIJ managed pensions money for more than 100 companies, and 880,000 policyholders were said to have been impacted by the scandal.