NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Nomura Holdings Inc. of Japan has committed US$300,000 to support a program on alternative investments at Columbia Business School’s Center on Japanese Economy and Business.

This program was established in July 2002 to study the development of hedge funds, private equity and other non-traditional assets in Japan as well as more broadly East Asia. The three-year grant from Nomura will be used to expand its activities.

Current projects include examining the development of Japan-focused hedge funds, private equity buyouts, distressed investing and the evolving strategies of Japanese institutional investors in alternative assets.

Hedge funds and other alternatives are new in Japan but are growing, said a Nomura spokeswoman. “We view them as very important for our clients, both institutional and retail,” she added. The market for alternative investments in Japan and Asia was approximately US$22 billion according to a study done roughly two years ago.

Part of the grant will be used to organize periodic seminars in Tokyo to promote understanding of alternative investments among leading Japanese institutional investors. There will also be a Tokyo conference to compare U.S. and Japanese pension fund asset allocation strategies in the alternatives field. The Pension Fund Association of Japan will participate in this event.

CKurdas@HedgeWorld.com