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Staff writer

The new investment trust firm to be launched jointly by Prudential Insurance Co. of America and Mitsui Trust & Banking Co. will provide integrated fund management services to customers, Arthur Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer of Prudential, said Wednesday.

In an interview with The Japan Times before a news conference in Tokyo, Ryan made a distinction between the joint venture and other non-Japanese financial institutions that have entered the investment trust market in Japan. “We will provide a tremendous amount of advice to the consumers … not simply sell the products,” he said.

Financial planners at Mitsui Trust will be used to sell “the right products for the right needs to be met,” he said.

Mitsui Trust employs about 500 financial planners. They advise customers on a wide range of issues, including property inheritance, housing loans and asset management, according to the bank.

But Ryan did not rule out possibility that the tentatively named Prudential-Mitsui Trust Investments Co. will use other distribution channels in the future, including direct marketing. The American CEO said Japan’s recession and banking sector problems are not necessarily a direct advantage for investment trusts.

Investment trusts are receiving attention as consumers are asking for more investment choices, he said. “I think it is an evolution that has occurred in other markets and will occur in Japan.”

He showed a keen interest in pension plans similar to U.S. 401(k) plans, which the Japanese government is considering introducing. Offering products for the plans would be consistent with the new firm’s philosophy to help people plan for long-term savings, he said.

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