New Office

Nikko Asset Management Opens In Germany

Jackie Bennion 14 March 2019

Nikko Asset Management Opens In Germany

In the same week news hit that its president and chief executive is stepping down, Nikko Asset Management is opening its first office in Germany.

The firm said setting up in Frankfurt’s financial district reflects strong investment demand from across Germany and client desires to be more closely linked to Nikko AM’s expertise in Asia Pacific.

One target is the German fund industry, which the group said topped €3 trillion in AuM in 2018 and has grown by 77 per cent the last decade.

"Germany is the latest stop in our international growth story, and important in that we have been seeing a great deal of interest in both our Asian investment strategies as well as our global capabilities. We are client focused and being on the ground allows us to serve our clients better throughout German-speaking Europe," Nikko's EMEA CEO John Howland-Jackson, said.

Earlier in the week, the asset manager announced the departure of its CEO Takumi Shibata, who leaves April 1st after six years at the helm - the last two of those stalked by controversy.

In 2017, the Japanese fund manager became embroiled in a lawsuit brought by several of the firm's former US executives who claim that Shibata and co-defendants (Nikko, SMTB, and its parent, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank) diverted tens of millions of dollars assigned to employee stock incentive schemes into other structures that directly benefited Shibata.

The allegations relate to events following Sumitomo Mitsui’s acquisition of Nikko from Citigroup in 2009 and lucrative stock plans earmarked for employees the plaintiffs say were misappropriated and then rendered practically worthless. Seven former senior execs, who had left Nikko by 2015, are seeking damages in excess of $100 million. Fresh allegations from the case being heard in New York implicating Shibata surfaced in news reports this week and likely accelerated his departure. Neither Nikko nor Shibata has commented further on his resignation decision.

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