The manager of the Matthews Japan Fund, which ranks No. 2 among all 13 Japan-focused U.S. mutual funds, is purchasing stakes in Japanese financial-services companies in order to churn a profit, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Basing his move on increases in investing and consumer lending, the manager, Mark Headley, said a change in landscape has changed the strategy of his company, San Francisco-based Matthews International Capital Management.

"When I first went to Japan 11 years ago, you couldn’t use a credit card outside Tokyo," said Headley. "Now [they] have Internet brokerages."

His $195 million fund, which has jumped 27.5% over the past 12 months, has, as its biggest holding, Japan’s largest online brokerage, Monex Beans Holding Inc. That company grew by 35 times in the three-month period ended June 30, with daily trading averages doubling.

The fund has not limited its holdings just to Internet brokerages. It also holds stakes in technology companies like Sharp Corp. and more typical companies, such as 7-11 Japan Corp.

Still, Headley, who almost qualified for the 1988 and 1992 Olympics as a fencer, admitted that of the 45 companies his fund invests in, financial services firms have been the hottest.

"We’ve really had a home run with the financials," Headley said.

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The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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