Harrington Cooper and Nissay AM launch Japanese value UCITS fund

Concentrated portfolio with a mid-cap focus

Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash


Harrington Cooper has partnered with Japanese firm Nissay Asset Management to launch the Thornbridge Nissay Japan Contrarian Value Equity Fund.

The UCITS-compliant vehicle will be headed up by Nissay AM’s Eizo Tomimura, who has also managed the firm’s Concentrated Value fund since 2011. Harrington Cooper will serve as the distributer.

The strategy, which has been in place since 2019, seeks cheap opportunities that the manager believes have been unfairly penalised relative to their forward-looking measures such as discounted cashflow. It will hold between 30 and 40 stocks at any one time, with a particular focus on mid caps. It can however invest across the market-cap spectrum, depending on where the manager is finding opportunities. The fund will be capped at approximately $600m (£467m) to combat any potential liquidity issues, given it invests in smaller stocks.

See also: Japan: Will it be different this time?

The fund is also “fully ESG integrated”, according to Harrington Cooper, with Nissay Asset Management embedding “ESG factors” into all of its Japanese equity funds from 2008.

Manager Tomimura said: “Japanese equities are valued cheaply relative to developed markets, trading more than two thirds lower than US equities.

“Crucially though, Japan is benefitting from a number of trends that should ultimately drive share price re-ratings. Besides low inflation and recent governance reforms, Japanese businesses are benefitting from ‘friend-shoring’ by the US and other major countries, which are securing supply chains with key allies amid elevated geopolitical tensions.”

Harry Dickinson, managing partner of Harrington Cooper, said Nissay Asset Management – which is a subsidiary of Nippon Life Insurance Company – has a “highly experienced Japanese equity team”.

“ESG, value [investing] and Japan are top priorities for European investors,” he explained. “Eizo benefits from the support of one of the market’s largest and most experienced investment teams, including 20 Tokyo-based analysts, as well as the group’s teams in London, New York, and Singapore.”

He added that Nissay Asset Management has been “at the forefront of socially and environmentally responsible investing in Japan” for more than 15 years and that the firm has a “deep integration of ESG principles”.

“Through active engagement and innovative strategies like proxy voting, they continuously enhance the quality of their holdings,” Dickinson said. “This extensive research capability is a significant competitive advantage for the fund.”

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