New Hybrid Digital Bank, PurePoint™ Financial

This development marks a true milestone in terms of the global development of Japanese banks.

We have already seen Japanese insurers using M&As as they seek to internationalize their operations, including telematics-based auto insurance, as they enter the fray in cutting-edge financial services in mature markets.

Until now, overseas expansion in Japan’s banking sector has typically started with transaction banking and hinged on wholesale operations (trade finance, foreign exchange, and investment banking services to support the overseas development activities of Japanese companies).

This initiative signifies an expansion into retail operations of locally incorporated subsidiaries in North America with which the bank has a long history and abundant goodwill. This initiative will also provide valuable feedback that can be applied to the Japanese market. To succeed in this market will require meeting the needs of the millennial generation with state-of-the-art technologies such as IoT and AI and conducting operations in a way to develop next-generation digital financial services.


S&P Global Market Intelligence:  Mitsubishi UFJ Financial seeks stable dollar funding with new US online biz

NIKKEI: Mitsubishi UFJ expands in US with online banking


Celent Report Recommendation: Defining a Digital Financial Institution: What “Digital” Means in Banking











日本の銀行業界におけるレガシー・モダナイゼーション パート2:銀行業界への提言


– Click to read more







① グローバリゼーション:

② アセットマネージメント:

③ FinTech:






DigitalConsumer_JP DigitalConsumer_US DigitalConsumer_JPvsUS



Globalization and Digitization

Globalization at Japan’s leading firms continues unabated.

Various market segments have seen record M&A activity as companies continue to seek strategic means of diversifying their portfolios and global growth opportunities in tandem with boosting corporate value and profitability over the mid to long term. At the same time, the weakening of the yen in the wake of the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers has pushed the forex market to a point that makes the price tags of these mergers relatively more expensive, meaning more latent financial risk. Against this backdrop, this post examines recent global M&A trends, related background and risk, and the outlook and possibilities across business segments.


1. Tokio Marine Holdings’ June 2015 announcement of the acquisition of U.S.-based specialty insurance group HCC Insurance Holdings:

It is significant that the nation’s largest non-life insurer is not sitting idly but instead is boldly striving to increase the ratio of its business derived overseas. This merger was valued at 940 billion yen ($7.5 billion). It launches a new chapter in the history of this company. This decision is one that could only have been taken by a company with a wealth of experience and a successful track record.

According to the insurer, this deal will have the following benefits:
・Result in greater scale and profit potential overseas
・Make possible the establishment of a more globally diversified business portfolio
・Enable improved capital efficiency and sustainable profit growth.
This move and the above rationale articulated by the firm only serve to reaffirm that Japanese firms are and will increasingly be looking to expand globally.

These moves have been driven exchange rate and interest rate considerations and more by a desire to enhance the scale, scope, and efficiency of business operations. This, in turn, has been prompted by a rise in the ratio of foreign investors and more vocal “activist” shareholders.” Seen another way, these efforts—the manifestation of the pursuit of M&A activities focused overseas—reflect the grim reality of the difficulty finding good business opportunities in and the rigidity of the domestic market.

The market is anxiously anticipating further deregulation and efforts to bring more market players into the market not only in insurance, but across the entire financial services industry. Furthermore, overseas new business development through outbound M&As is expected to bring synergies to the existing domestic market.


2. Meiji Yasuda Life’s July 2015 announcement of the acquisition of StanCorp Financial Group:

The gravity of this major Japanese life insurer’s decision to acquire StanCorp Financial Group is readily apparent. Meiji Yasuda Life mobilized funds greatly exceeding those that earmarked for M&As under the company’s interim investment plan.
The acquisition transaction totaled around 600 billion yen (about $5 billion), more than double the 250 billion yen (more than $2 billion) outlined in the corporate plan, the Meiji Yasuda Next Challenge Program, formulated in June 2014. The media touted the acquisition as the largest acquisition yet by a Japanese life insurer.

Japan’s life insurance market accounts for a whopping 20% of the global life insurance market, only slightly behind the 22% share made up by the U.S. The market’s compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 3% over the past 10 years and the degree of concentration of profits—the largest five companies account for more than 60 %—indicate the mature nature of the market. At the same time, revision of the company’s Stewardship Code in February 2014 and its Corporate Governance Code in June 2015 have encouraged institutional investors and issuers to seek a greater return on equity (ROE).

With ample capital on hand, the company’s bold strategy of international M&As mandates the diversification of its revenue sources and business portfolio, the establishment of a business foundation in the world’s largest market, and a high level of governance needed to manage differing business portfolios. Given its scale and its current difficulties, there is no doubt that the market will be focused on the moves that Japanese financial institutions make as they seek to pioneer a new avenue toward the future. Japan’s life insurance industry has clearly burst into an age of competition that will place a premium on action and skill when it comes to overseas strategies.


3. Nikkei media group’s July 2015 announcement of the acquisition of the Financial Times Group:

The purchase of the Financial Times by Nikkei media group, publisher of Japan’s leading economic daily the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, is a bid to springboard beyond being Asia’s most formidable economic media outlet and to accelerate its evolution and transformation into a global and comprehensive information company.

Already, digital paid subscribers for both of the publications have reached around 1 million readers, a solid community of readership in the capital market and real economy . With their combined resources of reporters, editors, news-gathering networks, and ability to provide information directly from and between the major capital markets of London and Tokyo, the new entity boasts an unprecedented scale and scope for producing content.

The organization can be expected to serve as a global platform for evolution. An integral part of this process is the Nikkei subsidiary Quick Corp., which provides financial and capital market information services. By further enhancing the machine-readable digital content offerings and distribution platform, Nikkei Group with the FT Group under its umbrella could evolve into a global market data provider unlike any the world has ever seen. Celent expects the new group to combine its steady flow of the latest data, timely information, and broad coverage with features including analytical functions and compatibility with digital devices and robo-advisory services.

If this new entity becomes a new economic media powerhouse, potentially even the top in the world, then it can be expected to help accelerate the globalization of Japan’s capital markets.


4. M&As, globalization, and things digital:

These three acquisitions have commonalities that offer important insights related to the direction of Japan’s financial business and technology.

  • The transformation of top companies:
    No one in Japan believes that the current exchange rates are at advantageous levels for Japanese companies to be acquiring overseas firms. However, a partial list of major M&As excluding the financial sector following the collapse of Lehman Brothers reads as follows: Canon ($2.82 billion), Japan Post ($6.42 billion), Otsuka Pharamceutical ($3.51 billion), Daiichi Sankyo Company ($4.6 billion), Itochu Corporation ($1.04 billion yen), Kintetsu World Express ($1.21 billion yen), Suntory (1.6 billion dollars), Asahi Kasei Corporation ($3.16 billion), and LIXIL Corporation ($3.84 billion). Clearly, leading companies in segments across the economy are boldly looking abroad.
  • Fundamentally changing of outbound M&As:
    These massive deals are clearly indicative of change, namely geopolitical change. Until this sea change , Japanese firms were focused on smaller deals in Southeast Asia to the tune hundreds of millions of dollars; today they have their sights set on mature Western markets and megadeals that on the order of billions of dollars. There is an analog here to innovation in that these firms are tackling something that extends beyond their capacity to measure with their corporate metrics as they look to buy businesses, brands, and customers that involve unknown elements.
  • Nimble, top-down decision-making:
    The leading companies that were able to make these kinds of crucial decisions involving massive sums of money realized—or even surpassed—the commitments outlined in their overseas business strategies and budgets. Clearly, the swift decision-making witnessed here differs from the traditional image associated with Japan’s manufacturing and financial institutions of being painstakingly bottom-up, slow-developing consensus-building organizations. This kind of top-down approach hinges on strong leadership, external resources (advisory firms) well versed in the company’s strategy, and a rock-solid financial foundation.
  • Keys to success will prove governance and digital initiatives:
    The companies in question here have all gone on record saying that new governance is the key to success. Like technology, it is hard to quantify or put a figure on the value of high-caliber management teams that can be entrusted to skillfully run businesses in areas spanning diverse geopolitical situations. In addition, both technology and management are highly dependent on human resources, which tend to fade with time. This prompts the question of whether these firms will, in their forays into “unknown new lands,” be able to manage their new enterprises well. In the device industry, business and IT are two sides of the same coin and governance that does not take into account both is ultimately not viable. This is an area that has both risk and poses challenges for major global firms.

In addition, technology has become a synonym for digital. In its comments (summarized below) on announcing the acquisition of the FT, NIKKEI noted that the move was part of a larger trend that extends beyond the media industry and into the financial information arena. Replacing the word “media” with “ financial services” and you the comments are essentially a strategy for global financial service players. Digital has drastically shortened the distance between these.

  • Business development that leverages the digital merits of being able to deliver information anywhere in the world instantly will be critical. The conventional relationship between paper and digital media has already been turned on its head.
  • Mergers and acquisitions are spilling beyond borders and regions. In turn, this has increased the significance of forging complementary relationships and increased the meaning of strategically mutually beneficial alliances for the media. The partnering of these major media firms with distinct regional strengths in the West and in Asia opens the door to genuine realignment and innovation.






1. 米国スペシャルティ保険グループHCCインシュアランス・ホールディングス社の買収

2015年6月 東京海上ホールディングス 発表


2. 米国の上場生命保険グループStanCorp Financial Group の買収

2015年7月 明治安田生命保険 発表


3. 英国の有力経済紙フィナンシャル・タイムズ(FT)を発行するフィナンシャル・タイムズ・グループの買収

2015年7月 日本経済新聞社 発表


4. M&Aとグローバリゼーションそしてデジタル


1) トップ企業の変貌:

2) アウトバウントM&Aの地殻変動:

3) 意思決定のトップダウンと超迅速化:

4) 成功の鍵は、ガバナンスとデジタル:


  • 世界のどこにでも即座に情報を届けることのできるデジタルの長所活用した事業展開が欠かせない。既に、デジタルメディアと紙媒体との関係は逆転している。
  • 合従連衡の進展は、国や地域を越え、グローバルな補完関係を持つメディアが戦略的に手を結ぶ意味を拡大した。欧米とアジアという異なる地域で強みを持つ主要メディア同士による本格的な再編は、新機軸を切り開く。



Abenomics: The Fourth Arrow of Innovation and Globalization


The Bank of Japan surprised markets with further monetary easing on October 31, 2014. Befitting Halloween, the BOJ had market watchers on the edge of their seats when the policy committee meeting dragged past noon, finally concluding at 1:44 p.m. Three minutes later, the results sent the Nikkei Average soaring 400 yen. The buying continued with the Nikkei closing up 755 yen at a seven-year high of 16,413. This Halloween treat rippled overseas to major bourses in Asia. Later that evening, the Dow Jones Industrial average followed suit, riding the announcement to a new high. Meanwhile, in the forex market, the yen hit a near seven-year low of more than 112 yen to the dollar. In short, this news focused the attention of market players on Japan’s market and Abenomics.



With the reshuffling of his Cabinet on September 3, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched the second stage of his administration. This offered a chance to appraise his core economic policy of Abenomics.

It was only a year ago that he visited the New York Stock Exchange and asked investors to “Buy my Abenomics[1].” He put in a repeat performance on December 30 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s final trading session of 2013, exhorting investors to, “Buy my Abenomics next year too[2].” Today Abenomics has become synonymous with Japan’s economy and monetary policy.

In his September 18 article to the Wall Street Journal[3], Abe gave the below points as integral to the second stage of his plan.

  • Reducing the effective corporate tax: A 2.4% reduction this year, further cuts next year, and an effective tax rate target of under 30%.
  • Enhanced corporate governance: Today 74% of companies listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange have an outside director, up 12% in the past year.
  • New entrants in underdeveloped industrial fields: Encouraging new entrants in fields that have had relatively few—namely the electricity business and healthcare services. The number of firms in the electricity market surged nearly 60% from 38 to 59 in one year.
  • Relaxation of visa requirements: The number of foreigners visiting Japan last year topped 10 million for the first time with a 25% year-on-year increase so far in 2014.
  • Making agriculture a growth sector: Establishing regional "farmland banks" to promote farmland consolidation and large-scale farming. Plans to reform traditional agricultural associations to strengthen the competitiveness of Japan's farmers.
  • Deregulation: Using National Strategic Special Zones to expand areas where regulatory reforms will be implemented to support new businesses, including non-Japanese startups, to create a welcoming environment for talented entrepreneurs, their employees, and home-support workers from overseas. Since mid-July, more than 200 proposals for regulatory reform have been put before the Diet.

Soon after the launch of the second Abe administration, the first and second so-called Abenomics arrows of monetary and fiscal policy left the quiver. The third arrow of growth strategy structural reforms and the fourth arrow—which has garnered great attention both in Japan and overseas—are taking longer to prove effective. The market has high expectations that more action will follow on the heels of these arrows, action including efforts to accelerate deregulation, innovation, and globalization.



In his first press briefing as prime minister in December 2012, Abe told the media that his administration’s mission was to put the economy back on firm footing. He pledged to pull out all fiscal and monetary stops to revive the economy. Indeed, Abe dubbed his C abinet the “crisis-busting Cabinet” and promised to pour his all into three areas: revitalizing the economy, rebuilding from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and crisis management. To get the economy in gear, Abe stressed his so-called three-arrow economic scheme, designed to revive the economy through bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy, and a growth strategy. Two years on, today is an opportune time to take stock of his results.


Table 1: Abenomics: Policy Measures Over Time


Source: Celent analysis


The first arrow brought a new dimension of monetary easing to an economy struggling to shrug off decades of deflation. Nevertheless, today the likelihood of reaching the 2015 core consumer price rise target of 2% remains highly uncertain. Observers expect ongoing monetary easing based on how inflation data plays out, as well as deregulation and innovation policies.

The second arrow of fiscal stimulus can—through two supplementary budgets—be regarded as contributing to bolstering the economy and easing the consumption tax hike impact. Having said that, stimulus measures have relied on conventional public works projects.

As for the third arrow’s growth strategy, the revised Japan Revitalization Strategy addresses corporate tax cuts and regulatory reform in employment, healthcare, and agriculture; yet, it lacks anything appreciably novel in new fields such as energy or in terms of innovation-promoting policies and global strategy.

In a letter to the Financial Times[4] on June 30, 2014, Abe offer the following points in touting his third arrow and growth strategy.

  • On the promises associated with his third arrow: Structural reform has shifted into high gear entailing the following: reducing corporate tax, enhancing corporate governance, requiring companies to appoint outside directors, adopting a Japanese stewardship code, and reform of the Government Pension Investment Fund.
  • Dispelling concerns related to the consumption tax hike: Any negative impact is seen as short-lived. The situation differs from 1997 due to a better employment market, rising wages, and growing imports.
  • Sustaining economic growth amidst an aging and shrinking population: Since starting to promote “womenomics,” we have seen 530,000 women enter the labor market and large companies have pledged to appoint at least one woman executive. Diversity is the operative word and inflexible labor systems will be reviewed and improved to empower women, the young, the elderly, and those with special talents.

The market has regarded these policies with a degree of approval. Market expectations were buoyed by the May 2014 new growth strategy—a revised version of the Japan Revitalization Strategy. Japanese stocks jumped, revisiting the 15,000-yen level. This came following a rebound sell-off by foreign investors disillusioned by the growth strategy (Japan Revitalization Strategy) in the second half of 2013. Investors rang in 2014 with more selling, but the new growth strategy triggered a buy-back. The market has maintained a level of expectations for Abenomics, However, 2015 will be a year of milestones for assessing the success (or lack thereof) of Abenomics. These include the second consumption tax hike, from 8% to 10%, slated for October (although it now appears highly likely this will be postponed), the 2% inflation target and fiscal consolidation.


Figure 1: NIKKEI 225


Source: NIKKEI, JPX, Celent


Figure 2: Foreigners Trading Value of TSE 1st Section Stocks


Source: NIKKEI, JPX, Celent



Japan’s government announced in June 2013 the revitalization strategy to spur growth. The firing of arrows one and two restored corporate and citizen confidence. To transform expectations into reality, three action plans were formulated: the Industry Revitalization Plan, the Strategic Market Creation Plan, and the Strategy of Global Outreach. The global outreach agenda is designed to boost Japan’s share of the pie in international markets.

In June 2014, the revamped version of the revitalization strategy further spelled out 10 policies to address high-priority challenges. To restore Japan’s “earning power,” Abe called for enhanced corporate governance, a review of public funds management, and promotion of venture business as well as an overhaul of corporate tax reform and promotion of innovation. In addition, as an engine to drive this reform and new growth, he called for employment reform to harness the talents of women and foreigners, and renewed efforts to make healthcare as well agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries that support regional communities. This growth strategy is noteworthy for its emphasis on private business shouldering the growth.


Figure 3: Japan Revitalisation Strategy – Three action plans (June 2013)


Source: "Japan Revitalisation Strategy-Japan is Back-“


Figure 4: Japan Revitalisation Strategy – Strategy of Global Outreach (June 2013)


Source: "Japan Revitalisation Strategy-Japan is Back-“


Figure 5: Japan Revitalisation Strategy – Revamped Version (June 2014)


Source: "Revision of Japan Revitalization Strategy”,


Market attention and expectations are now focused on Abe’s fourth arrow. Initially Abe’s fourth arrow was fiscal reconstruction accompanied by consumption tax hikes. This is changing as elements such as the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 are added to the mix. Still, market players are unified in their opinion that both additional stimulus measures and sustainable structural reform are needed.


Celent is convinced that innovation and globalization are economic growth drivers. Today in the financial arena there are two types of globalization afoot: one is expanding business overseas, the other globalizing the domestic market. The former will entail the public and private sector working together in emerging markets with a focus on Asia to support M&A activities and overseas production in line with the development of the local financial business. The latter will hinge on the globalization of financial markets and the development of both corporate and retail global financial services—both fueled by emerging technologies such as digitalization. Celent hopes that Abenomics fourth arrow is aimed at innovation and globalization and that the arrow flies true.


Figure 6: Three Themes Driving Financial Technology


Source: Celent



[1] Address by H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, at the New York Stock Exchange, September 25, 2013,

[2] Address at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, December 30, 2013,

[3] The Next Stage of Abenomics Is Coming, WSJ, September 18 2014,

[4] My ‘third arrow’ will fell Japan’s economic demons, FT, June 30, 2014,




「ジャパン・パッシング」(日本素通り)から、一夜にして、「Japan Back on to the World’s Radar = 世界の市場の目は日本に注がれる」へ




2014年9月3日、第2次安倍改造内閣が発足した。安倍政権は、2012年12月の発足以来、第二ステージに入った。現政権の掲げる経済政策「アベノミクス」は、様々な評価と批判、そして期待を招いた。首相自身も、2013年9月26日ニューヨーク証券取引所での講演において、「Buy my Abenomics(アベノミクスは『買い』)」[1]と述べ、また、同年12月30日の東京証券取引所大納会でも、「来年もアベノミクスは買い」[2]と発言し、現在、日本の経済・金融政策の代名詞となっている。


  • 法人税の実効税率の引き下げ:今年度4%引き下げ、来年度さらに引き下げる予定。最終的には数年で20%台を目指す。
  • コーポレートガバナンス(企業統治)の強化:東証1部上場企業の74%が社外取締役を任命しており、その割合は過去1年で12%増。
  • 新規参入企業がなかった産業分野の開拓:電力と健康医療サービス分野について、新規参入を促す。電力市場はわずか1年で38社から59社へと6倍成長。
  • ビザ発給要件の緩和:訪日客は昨年初めて1000万人を突破、今年は現在までで既に25%増と、昨年の見事な増加率を上回る。
  • 農業を成長セクターへと転換する施策:農地の集約と大規模化を目的とした都道府県ごとの「農地バンク」の設置。日本の農家の競争力強化に向け、伝統的な農業団体(農協)を改革。
  • 規制緩和への取り組み:「国家戦略特別区域」において、規制改革を実施する地域を拡大、7月半ば以降、200を超える規制改革案を国会へ提出。特区では、有能な起業家やその従業員、外国人ホームヘルパーにとって快適な環境作りを目指し、日本人以外の起業を含む新事業を支援。






表 1: アベノミクス、これまでの政策推移


出典: セレント分析






  • 第3の矢に関する約束への回答:法人税率引下げ、コーポレートガバナンスの強化、社外取締役任命に関する説明規則制定、日本版スチュワードシップ・コードの受入、年金積立金管理運用独立行政法人の改革など、日本の構造改革は、そのギアをハイギアにシフトし推進することを明言。
  • 消費税増税への懸念の払拭:消費の落ち込みは一時的なもの、前回引上げ時の1997年当時との違いを強調、雇用市場の改善、賃金の上昇、輸入の拡大は、増税への懸念を払拭すると、日本経済の回復状況に言及。
  • 高齢化社会と低下する出生率の中での持続可能性:「ウィメノミクス」(女性活用)の旗印の下、53万人の女性が労働市場に参入、大企業は、少なくとも1人の女性を役員として任命するルールなどの成果を強調。キーワードを多様性とし、女性、若者、高齢労働者や特別な能力を有する人々などなど、柔軟性を欠く労働制度の改革を例示。




図  1: 日経平均株価(NIKKEI 225)の推移


出典: NIKKEI, JPX, Celent


図 2: 海外投資家の日本株売買推移


出典: NIKKEI, JPX, Celent






図 3: 日本再興戦略 3つのアクションプラン(2013年6月)


出典: 「日本再興戦略-JAPAN is BACK-」


図 4: 日本再興戦略 国際展開戦略(2013年6月)


出典: 「日本再興戦略-JAPAN is BACK-」


図 5 日本再興戦略 改訂版(2014年6月)


出典: 「日本再興戦略」改訂2014 -未来への挑戦-






図 6: セレントの考える、成長戦略のテクノロジードライバー


出典: セレント


[1] Address by H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, at the New York Stock Exchange, September 25, 2013,

[2] 「来年もアベノミクスは買いです」 値上がりに沸く大納会で安倍首相があいさつ、December 30, 2013,

[3] The Next Stage of Abenomics Is Coming, WSJ, September 18 2014,

[4] My ‘third arrow’ will fell Japan’s economic demons, FT, June 30, 2014,

It’s A Small World After All

It was in 1964 that Walt Disney first told us in song that “it’s a small world, after all.” As we apply the concept to insurance in 2010, it is clear that Walt was well ahead of his time. The opportunities and challenges for today’s insurers around the globe seem to transcend time zone and cultural differences. I recently spent a week in Tokyo, in part for the Celent Insurance Roundtable. (No, I did not go to Tokyo Disney.) To be successful, a trip like this has to include some very fresh sushi, and a flurry of fresh perspectives. Thankfully, I found both. In our roundtable discussion and in my conversations with Japanese clients I was struck by how similar Japanese insurer concerns are compared to those of North American insurers. Common themes included finding the right levers to drive company-level growth despite flat industry-level demand, concerns over outdated IT approaches, and the challenges associated with optimizing short- and long-term strategies simultaneously. Comparing Tokyo consumers to their counterparts in North American cities of similar size is also interesting. Looking around a Tokyo Starbucks, I saw that same curious mix of eccentric 20-somethings and 40-something professionals that I see in New York. Most were on laptops or smart phones, enjoying high speed connectivity to stay in touch with friends or to crank out emails from their virtual offices. The Japanese may still have more affection for their keitai (cell phones) than do North Americans, but the gap is clearly closing. Another symptom of our rapidly shrinking planet (where is Al Gore when you need him?) is that global competition is no longer limited to the manufacturing sector. Looking at the names on Tokyo buildings tells the story. IT services firms are aggressively building out their presence in new geos. Insurers are buying companies halfway around the world. Software vendors that got their start in one country are now reaching critical mass in others. While I typically preach focus for any firm that haven’t mastered its “home” domain, I think that expanding the vision to new countries is essential for successful firms that have high growth ambitions. Good ideas, powerful tools, and game-changing strategies are welcome visitors to just about any country. As a futurist and as an entrepreneur, Walt Disney dreamed big dreams. We may not be commuting to work by personal jet pack (yet), but otherwise Walt had it about right. It’s a small world, indeed.