Frontier sets up in Japan

Yuichi Takayama
Frontier Advisors Pty Ltd - Head of Japan
Frontier Advisors Pty Ltd
Date: 1 August 2022
Position: Head of Japan
By Elizabeth Fry

Frontier Advisors is stepping up its presence in the Asia Pacific by opening an office in Tokyo and recruiting Yuichi Alex Takayama to run the new office.

In his new role, Takayama will work to help Frontier develop business opportunities in Japan but also in other Asian markets such as the Republic of Korea.

He has had a 25-year career in financial services roles covering business development, portfolio management, and research analysis in Japan, the US, and the UK.

Most recently, he served as head of business development with Misaki Capital.

Before that, he held senior roles with Nikko AM and Tokio Marine AM.

Frontier chief executive Andrew Polson said Takayama's on-the-ground presence will build on the momentum the asset consultant has created in Japan over the last eight years.

"The reception we have received from Japanese asset owners over this time has made us confident having a local presence will help us lift that engagement to the next level," he said.

The asset consultant has been working in Japan and Korea since 2015 but progress stalled on-the-ground for last couple of years because of the pandemic.

"We see Japan and Korea as the two big adjacent pension markets to Australia in our region and so they are the most logical first steps for us," he added.

Australia has very sophisticated institutions, Polson went on to say but concedes there are only so many you can deal with. Plus they are consolidating,

Commenting on the opportunities, Polson said asset owners in Asia typically don't have a lot of history investing in real assets, favouring fixed income and listed asset classes.

However, more recently, they have shown an interest in diversifying into real estate and infrastructure assets.

This appetite to deploy capital into unlisted assets is one reason Frontier thinks it can expand its growing client footprint outside Australia.

"We genuinely believe our expertise in real assets, our unconflicted advice model and the reputation the Australian institutional investment sector has internationally will make for a compelling proposition in Japan and elsewhere through Asia," added Polson.

"We are known as Australia's number one ranked asset consultant and we've been patiently establishing and growing relationships in the region. We think now is the right time to show our commitment and put our flag in the ground locally."

"It's a great sign of confidence that someone of Alex's standing and experience is keen to be a part of bringing a new institutional-grade advice offering into the Japanese market. We are delighted he is joining our team, and we look forward to working with new partners we believe Alex will introduce us to."

For his part, Takayama believes the Japanese market will see the value in Frontier's particular advice and business model. "The commitment they have shown through many years of engagement and genuine interest in the local market is something I am honoured to be able to lead."I

In 2020, Frontier won its first overseas retainer client in New Zealand. They expect to sign up a second client there in the coming weeks.

In 2013 Frontier founded the Global Investment Research Alliance with Segal Marco Advisers in North America, later admitting LCP in the UK to the global initiative.

Frontier has responsibility for Asia within the Alliance. This is the firm's first offshore base which it hopes will be a foundation for growth in the region.