Japan has been at the forefront of innovation in the asset management—and the broader financial services—industry in Asia, with a number of new and incumbent players rolling out robo-advisory services. Robo-advisors are online platforms that offer investment advice based on sophisticated algorithms mapping portfolios that can look at investment performance across asset classes in real time.
While there is vast potential in this area in Japan, the gains made by the robo-advisory industry may be limited if it does not strive to improve investment literacy and enhance accuracy and transparency of information.
Current robo-advisor initiatives in Japan are largely tailored to support the sales of mutual funds. As easy-to-use, non-face-to-face services, they are garnering interest from investors comfortable with information technology and a degree of financial literacy.
Moving forward, further advancements that draw on both asset management options and technology are expected in the following areas:
- Diversity of products. Expanding the range of products offered from general, publicly offered mutual funds to a variety of asset classes.
- Diversity of services. Online onboarding, portfolio management, reports and alerts. Operation support that is a hybrid approach, harnessing both existing contact centers and face-to-face services.
- Automation. Automated reinvestment and rebalancing. Supporting small-value and high-frequency trading.
- Accommodating business-to-business (B2B). Pro-level sales support tools developed to offer the advanced features professionals want. Vendor-supplied cloud services and financial institution-supplied white-label service offerings for other financial institutions.
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Robo-advisors: Booming in Japan
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