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Company News

FACTBOX-Japan's Meiji Yasuda Life turns cautious on foreign bonds

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co plans to trim its holdings of foreign bond investments without currency hedging and increase investments in domestic bonds instead, Japan’s third-largest private insurer said on Monday.

Following is a summary of Meiji Yasuda’s portfolio investment plans in the half year through March. The firm had total assets of 40.3 trillion yen ($385 billion) as of end-June.

DOMESTIC BONDS

The company plans to increase the holdings of yen bonds, which it sees as its core assets, despite their low yields. In the six months that ended in September, Meiji Yasuda increased its yen bond holdings by 120 billion yen to 17.34 trillion yen.

FOREIGN BONDS

The insurer plans to reduce currency-hedged investment in U.S. Treasuries and other sovereign debt while it is planning to raise the holdings in credit products with currency hedging.

Its investment in foreign bonds has traditionally centred on U.S. dollar assets but the company has increased exposure to Australian and Canadian dollar bonds for diversification, Meiji Yasuda said.

The company plans to cut the holdings of foreign bonds without currency hedging by March.

All together, in the fiscal half to September, the firm increased the holdings of foreign bonds by 240 billion yen to 9.09 trillion yen.

STOCKS

The insurer is looking to cut its holdings of stocks for rebalancing and to reduce risks. It expects stock markets to go through a correction due to the second wave of COVID-19 infections and concerns about a slower pace of economic recovery.

ESG

The company accelerated its efforts in ESG (environmental, social and governance) implementation in the six months ended September. Meiji Yasuda invested in green bonds and sustainability bonds, making the firm’s total ESG-related investments and loans 50 billion yen during the first fiscal half.

($1 = 104.9000 yen)

Reporting Tomo Uetake in Sydney, additional reporting by Daiki Iga in Tokyo; Editing by Hideyuki Sano & Sam Holmes

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