Letter to the Financial Times, published on December 9, 2019, from the Investment Manager of Sector Zen Fund:

It’s not an own goal for Japan this time around

Your report “Japanese public pension fund’s block on short-sellers threatens to rattle markets” (December 4) and the corresponding Lex comment “Japan’s pension fund: eat my shorts” need some clarification. The Government Pension Investment Fund’s decision to temporarily stop lending out shares from its global equity portfolio has no implications for the functionality of the Japanese equity market. According to our sources in Tokyo, the GPIF does not lend out shares in the domestic market in the first place.

To couple this with a range of domestic issues is thus misleading in our opinion, particularly when it leads Lex to conclude: “Another own goal from Japan Inc”. Having worked as an investment manager focused on Japan for the past 25 years, I have witnessed a few own goals. This is not one of them.

Trond Hermansen
Sector Asset Management
Oslo, Norway

Follow this link to read the letter (for FT subscribers)