Neuberger Berman has formed its first Japan-based equities team that will be managing a Japan Equity Engagement Strategy.
The team, to be led by Keita Kubota - who joins as a managing director and senior portfolio manager -, will manage the Japan Equity Engagement Strategy seeking attractive returns through active engagement and constructive dialog with Japanese small/mid-cap companies in which the team invests.
The strategy will be offered to both institutional and high-net-worth clients.
Kubota joins from Aberdeen Standard Investments, where he started his career over 13 years ago and most recently served as deputy head of Japan equities. He was the investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments' Japan large cap strategy and small cap strategy, both of which were managed with an engagement strategy and offered to large institutional clients across Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Two analysts, one of whom will specialize in ESG investing, will support Kubota. The other, Naoto Saito, joined Neuberger Berman in September as a senior research analyst and has a generalist focus. Saito previously served in research roles and covered a broad range of companies across the Japanese equity market at Balyasny Asset Management, CLSA Securities and T. Rowe Price. With diverse experience as well as deep knowledge in ESG engagement, the team will seek to generate additional value by offering insights and knowledge sharing on ESG investing with portfolio companies.
Ryo Ohira, Head of Neuberger Berman East Asia, said: "We look forward to the further expansion of ESG investing in Japan as companies have increased their awareness of corporate governance and other material factors.
"We think encouraging Japanese companies to improve their ESG factors through our active engagement can generate superior returns."
Neuberger Berman has been in Japan for 15 years and currently manages over $53bn in client assets locally having grown from $13bn in 2015. For largely an institutional client base, the firm manages fixed income, alternatives and equity portfolios.