David Shirt: “Pension funds in Japan are increasing their mandates for alternative assets”

Ahead of the Sydney Hedge Funds Club evening on Monday 11th September, Stefan Nilsson talks with David Shirt, CEO of Astris Advisory Japan, one of the event sponsors.

Astris Advisory, headquartered in Tokyo, is going from strength to strength. You seem to be both growing your existing service areas and launching new initiatives. Which areas are your main focus now?

We have three main business lines: Our longest-running business, Investment Advisory, provides market-leading Japanese equity research to offshore investors, covering small-cap/mid-cap/telecoms. Our rapidly growing Corporate Advisory business is helping our Japanese corporate clients to improve their investor relations capabilities and raise their profile with offshore investors. Our newly formed Financial Advisory business covers:

  • Offshore Fund Placement for fund managers looking to raise capital or distribute their funds in Japan.
  • Liquidity Solutions facilitates the sale of blocks of stock for our corporate clients.
  • M&A advisory for cross-border transactions both in and out of Japan.

A cheap yen and reopened borders mean that Japan is getting more attention from international funds and investors. What are the key opportunities?

Japanese companies are embracing better corporate governance and improved transparency, and are looking to unwind cross-shareholdings, attract offshore investors, and ultimately boost their share price/liquidity. Pension funds in Japan are rapidly increasing their mandates for alternative assets, providing significant opportunities for offshore fund managers focusing on energy transition, venture capital, ESG, etc.

You are one of the sponsors of the Sydney Hedge Funds Club evening on the 11th of September. What is it that you can offer Australian funds and investors?

For fund managers looking to raise capital or distribute their funds in Japan, Astris can provide access to an unparalleled network of institutional investors. Portfolio managers covering Japanese equities can subscribe to our market-leading research and we can also arrange for investors to meet with our corporate clients.

Tell us about Astris Advisory’s work with young people interested in entering the finance industry, including hosting students from the University of Melbourne.

Astris Advisory has placed a strong emphasis on our CSR efforts, which have included hosting interns from the University of Melbourne’s Global Management Consulting Program and the British School in Tokyo. We are also a major sponsor of the annual Knights in White Lycra charity cycling event and are a member firm of the Australia & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Astris Advisory Japan’s David Shirt, CEO, and Tom Wilson, CFO, will be at the Sydney Hedge Funds Club evening on Monday 11th September to network with fund managers, asset managers and investors.