Investment funds: Independent local firms in Japan

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune advises on a broad range of investment funds and asset management related work, notably, PE funds, VC funds, infrastructure funds, ETFs, and hedge funds. The firm is particularly experienced in dealing with real estate investment funds and acting in cross-border transactions. The practice has a strong presence in the distribution of offshore investment funds, including those in Cayman, Luxembourg, and Ireland. Harume Nakano specialises in banking, securities, asset management, and capital markets transactions. She leads the team with Kunihiko Morishita, who has expertise in the fields of banking, securities and asset management.

Practice head(s):

Harume Nakano; Kunihiko Morishita

Key clients

Janus Capital (Janus Henderson)

Nikko Asset Management

Credit Suisse

BlackRock

Global Funds Management S.A.

Nomura Alternative Investment Management

Fidelity

StepStone Group

Capula Investment Management

DBJ Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised through the whole process from the structuring to the formation of Abies Ventures Fund I, L.P., including on Japanese regulatory matters and investment into Pixie Dust Technologies, founded by Associate Professor Yoichi Ochiai of the University of Tsukuba.
  • Advised DEEPCORE Inc., a subsidiary of Softbank Group Corp. and an AI-focused incubator based in Japan, in launching its first venture capital fund, DEEPCORE TOKYO I Investment Limited Partnership.
  • Assisted Blue Swell Asset Management Private Limited with all Japanese regulatory matters, including registration of the Fund with the Financial Service Agency of Japan, related to the launch of Blue Swell Japan Market Neutral Fund.
  • Advised Scrum Ventures LLC launch Scrum Ventures Fund III L.P., a Cayman Islands exempted limited partnership, throughout the fund-raising, including negotiations with investors, including on Japanese regulatory matters.
  • Acting as the legal counsel as to the Japanese law and registration agent for US Dollar High Yield Bond Fund, provided advice on all the legal issues in connection with the public offering in Japan, including the responsibilities and potential liabilities of the client under the Japanese laws and regulations, as well as completed various filing requirements in Japan.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is known for advising on new non-Japanese funds that are publicly offered in Japan, including the provision of after-care services. The firm also has experience providing advice to existing non-Japanese funds, handling private placements for such funds, and assisting with public offerings for Japanese funds. Yasuzo Takeno has expertise in advisory work for corporate finance, financial regulation, investment managers and investment fund businesses, as well as providing legal advice on the day-to-day management of investment fund businesses. He co-leads the team with Ken Miura, who advises on derivatives and capital market transactions including Euro bond issues and global offerings of debt and equity securities. He particularly focuses on renewable energy-related transactions.

Practice head(s):

Yasuzo Takeno; Ken Miura

Work highlights

  • Public offering of Cayman unit trust named USD Prime One Fund (5Y) 2019-04.
  • Public Offering of Cayman unit trusts named Global Core Bond Fund / Global Core Equity Fund / Wealth Core Portfolio.
  • Public offering of Cayman unit trust named Tokio Marine Global CB Fund.
  • Public Offering of NK Premium CAT Bond Fund, which is the first public fund investing in CAT bonds.
  • Public offering of series of Red Arc Global Investments (Cayman) Trust – Target Setting at Maturity Fund 1802 and 1809.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

The multi-disciplinary team at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is known for private equity expertise and its broad practice in fund formation. The firm provides a strong real estate funds team, advising on private REITS, private real estate funds, and JREITs. The department also assists onshore and offshore fund sponsors in structuring and forming the funds, as well as representing asset management companies in structuring and formation of investment funds. Hidetaka Mihara leads a team that includes Keiko Shimizu, who has particular expertise in structuring and advising on complex, cross-border fund projects.

Practice head(s):

Hidetaka Mihara

Other key lawyers:

Keiko Shimizu

Testimonials

‘The team understands the Japanese real estate fund market and the local standards very well’ 

‘They are good at working with US counsel on cross-border matters – Japan transactions’

‘Mami Ikebukuro and Keiko Shimizu both stand out for their knowledge of the Japanese real estate fund market and the expectations of Japanese fund investors. They both also speak English well and are familiar with US practices’

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi is known for representing large Japanese investors and investment managers in matters including documentation, compliance, product design, and planning. The firm advises on fundraising in the investment stage after fund formation, investment in funds by institutional investors, as well as issues related to REITs and commodity funds. Kei Ito has experience in a range of investment funds, from retail products, investment trusts and ETFs to PE funds, buyout funds, infrastructure funds, and hedge funds. He co-leads the practice with Makoto Igarashi, who specialises in advising investment managers on fundraising and investment. Also notable in the team is Yoshiharu Kawamata, who focuses on international and domestic investment fundraisings.

Practice head(s):

Makoto Igarashi; Kei Ito

Other key lawyers:

Yoshiharu Kawamata

Key clients

JAPAN POST BANK Co., Ltd.

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Nomura Holdings, Inc.

Mizuho Capital Partners Co., Ltd.

Angel Bridge

Work highlights

  • JAPAN POST BANK and JAPAN POST INSURANCE Co., Ltd. established a new asset management company, Japan Post Investment Corporation, in February 2018.  JP Investment formed Japan Post Investment I, ILP in April 2018. The team provided advice regarding the fund structure and on the banking regulations applicable to JP Investment.
  • Advised Mitsui on establishing a JV entity with Israeli partners to manage a venture fund and establishing a Cayman limited partnership.
  • Advised on the establishment of a Japan-China industrial-cooperation fund.
  • Advised on the establishment of MCP Mezzanine IV, LPS, one of the largest mezzanine funds in Japan.
  • Advised on the establishment of MCP V, LPS.

Atsumi & Sakai

Specialising in Japanese institutions investing in foreign funds, Atsumi & Sakai represents clients on a range of investment funds for domestic and foreign investors, fund managers, and affiliated companies. The firm advises on investing in securities and real estate, as well as shareholder litigation for offshore funds. Co-leading the practice are Hiroki Mori, whose experience includes structured finance, securitization, PFI, finance lease, insolvency and trusts; Ryuichi Nozaki, who specialises in fund investment structuring, international litigation, disclosure, and regulatory advice; and Eiichiro Hata, who has expertise in fund structure, investment and formation, particularly in the private equity, real estate, energy, and infrastructure sectors. Also notable is Nobuchika Mori, the former Commissioner of the Financial Services Agency of Japan, who joined the firm in 2019 as an advisor.

Practice head(s):

Hiroki Mori; Ryuichi Nozaki; Eiichiro Hata

Other key lawyers:

Nobuchika Mori

City-Yuwa Partners

Acting primarily for offshore investment managers, trustees, administrators, and domestic distributors, City-Yuwa Partners is experienced in the filing of securities registration statements and reports, and investment management reports with the Financial Services Agency of Japan, as well as drafting related agreements in connection with public offerings of offshore investment trusts. The firm also has expertise in serving as supervisory director of JREIT and advising on regulatory matters for investment managers, trustees, administrators and distributors. In addition, the practice is increasingly active in the establishment and distribution of fintech-related funds. The team is co-led by Haruyuki Hirata, who specialises in the establishment of a range of offshore and domestic funds; and Yasuyuki Kuribayashi, who is notable in the areas of banking, finance and investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Haruyuki Hirata; Yasuyuki Kuribayashi

Key clients

Epoch Partners Limited

Evolution Capital Management LLC

Asset Management One

Renaissance Technologies

Mittleman Brothers

Government Pension Investment Fund

Work highlights

  • Represented Epoch Partners Limited in public offering of Cayman unit trust in Japan.
  • Represented Evolution Capital Management LLC on compulsory early redemption of Cayman fund at manager’s option.
  • Acted as Japan counsel for Asset Management One on public offering of Cayman investment trusts in Japan.
  • Advised Government Pension Investment Fund on the fund’s internal regulations.
  • Acting as supervisory director for XYMAX REIT.

TMI Associates

TMI Associates advises a range of funds, including venture capital funds, buyout funds, distressed funds, corporate reconstruction funds, and real estate funds. The firm's Tokyo-based practice has particular experience representing clients in venture capital funds investing in the IT and bio-related fields. In addition, the practice advises funds for investment in alternative energy sources and for infrastructure investment. Banking and capital markets expert Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi leads a team that includes Kiyomi Kikuchi, who has experience in a range of finance transactions and specialises in cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi

Other key lawyers:

Kiyomi Kikuchi

Work highlights

  • Represented SNAM as a sub investment manager/advisor with regard to Japanese stock in its negotiations and conclusions of relevant contracts with international investment managers.
  • Acts as Japan counsel to JOIN, one of the partner investors of the concession company to operate the Palau International Air Port in the Project.
  • GPIF launched and invested their assets in their first ever global infrastructure fund of funds. TMI was selected by GPIF as their external counsel (through public bid process) to advise on this matter.
  • GPIF launched and invested their assets in two additional infrastructure fund of funds focused mainly on infrastructure investment opportunities in Japan. TMI was selected by GPIF as their external counsel (through public bid process) to advise on this matter.
  • Advised DBJ Asset Management Co., Ltd. on a cross-border alternative investment project.