Northwestern Mutual and Nippon Life have agreed to explore potential joint business opportunities continuing the positive relationship between the two mutual life insurance companies that has developed over the last several years.

According to the agreement, Northwestern Mutual and Nippon Life will initially assist each other in pursuing US and Japanese investment opportunities, including US private equity and mezzanine co-investments, and Japanese equity investments.

The companies will also periodically share investment insights and consider an exchange of investment personnel. These cooperative efforts are expected to strengthen the asset management operations of both Northwestern Mutual and Nippon Life.

Nippon Life has also acquired from Northwestern Mutual a 5% equity stake in Russell Investments, a global investment firm and subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual, headquartered in Tacoma, Washington.

Edward Zore, president and CEO of Northwestern Mutual, said: This business opportunity is a good one and should prove beneficial to Nippon Life and Northwestern Mutual. Nippon Life is a premier long-term investor with a significant international presence, making its investment in Russell a ‘win-win’ for all parties involved.