Nomura Asset Management, the largest money manager in Japan, has entered the U.S. retail market with the introduction of eight new mutual funds.

Nomura, which manages about $220 billion worldwide, will market the funds as the Nomura Partners Funds. In addition to the new Asia and global funds, the fund family will include the Japan Fund, the oldest Japanese equity mutual fund in the nation.

The launch of the funds comes amidst the worst U.S. financial crisis since the Great Depression-a situation that has shattered investor confidence and sent global equities to their lowest values in more than a decade.

Shigeru Shinohara, CEO of Nomura Asset Management U.S.A., the Nomura subsidiary that will oversee the fund family, says the volatility in the funds industry hasn't diminished his company's determination to make a mark on the U.S. market.

"We have been looking for an opportunity to get into the U.S. retail market for a long, long time," Shinohara said.

Nomura's first step toward that goal happened on November 1, when it took over management of the Japan Fund from Fidelity.

In order to effectively promote the Japan Fund, he said, Nomura felt it needed to have a fuller lineup of global funds to present to the U.S. market, leading to the creation of the Nomura Partners Funds.

The fund family consists of the Japan Fund, the Asia Pacific ex Japan Fund, the India Fund, the Greater China Fund, the Global Equity Income Fund, the Global Emerging Markets Fund, the Global Alpha Equity Fund, the International 130/30 Equity Fund and the International Equity Fund.

Nomura will manage five of the funds. McKinley Capital Management LLC of Anchorage, Alaska, will manage the International 130/30 Fund and Martin Currie of Edinburgh, Scotland, will manage the Global Alpha Equity and Global Emerging Markets funds.

Shinohara feels the funds will be viewed as buying opportunities with global equities at historically low levels.

"We believe the average U.S. investors is under-invested internationally," he said. "I believe there will be more and more investors looking to other parts of the world for growth opportunities."

The launch is the first time a major Asian money manager is offering Asian or international funds to U.S. retail investors, Shinohara said. "All the Asian funds are run by U.S. or European managers," he said.