U.S. investor Ares taps ex-SMBC executive to lead Japan expansion

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NEW YORK — Ares Management has appointed a former executive of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. to lead its Japan operations as it prepares to open an office in Tokyo this year, tapping into a growing appetite for private assets.

The U.S. firm said Monday that it had named Masahiko Oshima, a former SMBC deputy chairman, as partner and Japan chairman of its Asian arm. Oshima has also served as head of SMBC’s global corporate banking unit and CEO of its European arm, giving him a deep background in international finance. He stepped down from his advisory position at SMBC as of Sunday.

Ares, a pioneer in private credit, is among the financial institutions eyeing Japan’s nascent alternative-asset market as the government seeks to make the country a hub for asset management. The market’s growth is expected to give investors greater access to this asset class, which includes private equities and real estate.

Ares had $428 billion in assets under management worldwide at the end of March. It has raised nearly $400 billion for private-asset investment over the past decade, according to Preqin. It has over $100 billion in funds available to invest.

SMBC has been an investor in Ares since taking a 4.9% stake in 2020. The appointment of a former SMBC senior executive to lead the firm’s Japan operations deepens those ties.

The firm has zeroed in on Asia as its next growth market, stepping up investment and hiring there. It has acquired firms in Hong Kong and Singapore, and it now has around 90 investment professionals across nine offices in major Asia-Pacific markets.

In Japan, Ares had focused mainly on marketing investment products to such institutional investors as insurers and pension funds. With the government’s recent policy initiatives to promote asset management, the firm now looks to make Tokyo a hub for its investment in the region.

Ares aims to expand business in Japan beyond financial institutions to wealthy individuals, as well as to invest more in Japanese alternative assets, foreseeing demand among local investors seeking to make them a bigger part of their portfolios.

Private assets under management in Japan totaled $150.9 billion as of last September, according to Preqin. This accounted for about 1% of the global market, leaving room for growth that alternative-asset firms look to capitalize on.

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Edmund Shing, PhD

Global Chief Investment Officer
BNP Paribas Wealth Management

Edmund has over 29 years of experience in financial markets in a wide variety of positions, ranging from proprietary trading to portfolio manager in a number of financial institutions in London and Paris.  He previously held the role of Global Head of Equity and Derivative Strategy at BNP Paribas in London from 2015 to 2020, and has been Chief Investment Officer at BNP Paribas Wealth Management since November 2020.

Edmund is responsible for piloting our investment strategy and will continues to rollout out recommendations and themes with actionable advice that brings our expertise to our clients and support to our client-facing teams.  In this time of change, his expertise in following and anticipating markets is a true value added for both our customers and those at Wealth Management who serve them.

Edmund has a PhD in Cognitive and Computing Science from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and has done advanced studies in Knowledge-Based Systems and in Experimental Psychology.  He is an EFFAS-certified financial analyst. He has also authored the book “The Idle Investor” published by Harriman House in 2015, proposing 3 simple investment strategies that take only a few minutes to execute per month.

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