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In brief: Dai-ichi Life on the balance between impact and returns

'All investments are from our policyholders’ reserves, so I cannot compromise,' says Masashi Kataoka, head of Dai-ichi’s Venture Investment Centre.

Masashi Kataoka, head of Dai-ichi’s Venture Investment Centre, believes “it’s possible to pursue both financial and social returns” but that the giant Japanese insurer finds it “very challenging” in its home market.

Dai-ichi has $350 billion in assets, about $10 billion of which is invested in alternatives. Roughly half of this is held in private equity buyouts, infrastructure and venture capital, Kataoka told affiliate title Private Equity International. Kataoka was speaking to PEI ahead of the Responsible Investment Forum: APAC Investor Day on 16 September. New Private Markets‘ Toby Mitchenall will be interviewing Kataoka alongside Chikako Matsumoto of Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and Jun Tsusaka of Nippon Sangyo Suishin Kiko on the topic of impact investment.

“Japan has a lot of social issues, including a growing elderly population, increasing healthcare costs, a smaller labour force and climate change,” Kataoka said as part of a wide-ranging interview. “Social impact is very, very challenging, because it often means impact first. We can’t do that because all investments are from our policyholders’ reserves, so I cannot compromise, but believe it’s possible to pursue both financial and social returns.”