Dai-Ichi Life, Japan’s third-largest insurance firm, has relocated the senior general manager of its Europe branch in London back to Tokyo as deputy general manager of fixed income.

Having started in the role on April 1, Gempaku Okuyama oversees direct investment of global fixed income assets including international government and agency bonds and US mortgage-backed securities but excluding corporate bonds.

The global fixed income portfolio is around $70 billion in size, Okuyama told AsianInvestor. It thus accounts for nearly a fifth of Dai-Ichi Life’s ¥35 trillion ($322 billion) of assets under management.

Gempaku Okuyama

Reporting to Kenjiro Okazaki, GM of fixed income, Okuyama replaces Eiichi Oohira, who will now head the Japan corporate bond investment desk.

Dai Hirabayashi, who previously oversaw Japan corporate bond investment, transfers to London to succeed Okuyama.

Japanese insurers and other institutional investors have been looking to increase their overseas and alternatives exposure in recent years to achieve better returns than they have been able to get onshore. But they now face a hit to those investments across the board from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following a similar path to some of its peers, Dai-Ichi Life in the latest fiscal year added a real asset fund investment division to manage infrastructure and real estate, Okuyama said. It had already begun to invest in hedge fund, private equity and venture capital strategies.

The firm will be hoping that real asset investments provide some resilience amid tanking equity and credit markets.