Eight of the nation’s nine second-tier brokerages posted pretax losses for the year that ended in March, according to earnings reports released by Friday, indicating that individual investors are still not returning to the stock market.

The earnings figures show that most brokerages failed to improve their operations ahead of the “Big Bang” financial deregulations, an indication that midsize brokerages will need to boost restructuring efforts if they are to survive.

Although five firms managed to shrink their losses in comparison with the previous year’s figures, only Kokusai Securities Co., which released its statistics last month, was able to report a pretax profit.

Earnings ranged from Kokusai’s profit of 10.8 billion yen to 14.4 billion yen in losses logged by Kankaku Securities Co. Kankaku acknowledged the same day that it is seeking an injection of fresh capital from its key bank, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, but officials said the timing and amount of such financial assistance has yet to be decided.

The second-tier brokerages moved to expand into the area of investment trusts and were relatively successful in their mutual fund business, but the continued sluggishness of the stock market made it unattractive to the retail investors who form the core of their clientele.

Commissions from equities underwriting fell from fiscal 1996 levels at all nine firms. Many firms also said they are beginning to feel the pinch of the April liberalization of commissions on securities transactions worth more than 50 million yen.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.