The surge in stock market performance in Tokyo has led to a hot job market for fund managers and investment professionals. Global hedge funds and asset managers are actively seeking talent in Japan to capitalize on the increasing investor interest in Japanese equities. The Nikkei 225, the benchmark index, has risen by approximately 22% this year, making it one of the best-performing indices.
The improved corporate governance and better shareholder returns at many Japanese companies have attracted big investors, including renowned investor Warren Buffett, to Japanese equities. This shift has also been appealing to activist investors who previously faced challenges in influencing change at Japanese companies. The number of activist funds in Japan has tripled over the past five years.
However, finding qualified professionals in the Japanese job market is a challenge. Traders, quants, marketing experts, and business development professionals with cultural compatibility are in short supply. Many Japanese workers still prefer job security and lifetime employment, which makes joining a hedge fund with its inherent risks less familiar to them.
The Japanese government aims to enhance Tokyo’s status as an international finance hub and has made efforts to address obstacles that made it less attractive than financial centers like Hong Kong and Singapore. Revisions to tax systems for foreign fund managers and the introduction of English services to facilitate local registration have been implemented.
Various global hedge funds are opening offices in Tokyo and hiring talent to support their investment focus. Portfolio managers and analysts specializing in equity long-short strategies and macro strategies are particularly in demand. Hedge funds such as Oasis Management and Point72 are expanding their presence in Japan, while Citadel is preparing to reopen an office in Tokyo. Foreign investors are attracted to Japanese equities due to their relatively cheap valuations compared to other markets.
To meet the demand for talent, firms are not only poaching experienced professionals from rival funds but also considering younger candidates, including recent graduates, especially those with degrees from overseas institutions. Some firms are even acquiring entire teams to strengthen their Japan coverage.
The growing investor appetite for Japanese equities, coupled with concerns and risks associated with China and Taiwan, has prompted some global investors to reduce their exposure to China and reallocate funds to Japan.
In summary, Tokyo’s surging stock market has created a robust job market for fund managers and investment professionals, with global hedge funds and asset managers actively seeking talent in Japan to capitalize on the increasing investor interest in Japanese equities and the improving corporate governance climate.