Japan fund manager may have lost some of $2.5 bln in assets

Japan’s financial regulator ordered a manager of corporate pensions to halt operations for a month on suspicion that it has lost some of its $2.5 billion assets under management in a scandal that could impact more than 100 firms.

Financial Services Minister Shozaburo Jimi said on Friday that the regulator suspected that Tokyo-based AIJ Investment Advisors may have lost client assets, and ordered it to suspend operations for a month from Friday.

AIJ has been unable to explain the current status of its assets under management, the regulator said.

Jimi also said the regulator would launch a probe into 263 investment management firms in Japan.

While Jimi did not provide further details, the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier that regulators suspect that AIJ Investment provided fraudulent reports to clients in a long-running deception.

AIJ could not be reached for comment.

AIJ managed about 210 billion yen ($2.62 billion) worth of funds for 123 clients as of last March, according to an industry group.

The bulk of its funds were from corporate pensions, and its list of clients included major semiconductor equipment maker Advantest Corp.