Mitsui Asset Trust & Banking Co. will beef up its pension trust operations while trying to raise the salaries of its pension consultants and other experts to levels seen at foreign banks, its president, Kazuo Tanabe, told Kyodo News.

“I’d like to treat our experts, who are in charge of fund management and pension consulting services, in a way that matches their market value. We are planning to raise their salaries to the levels at foreign banks in two years,” Tanabe said.

Mitsui Asset, formerly Sakura Trust & Banking Co., was established Feb. 1 as a trust bank specializing in the wholesale business of pension and security trusts.

Sakura Trust and its parent, Chuo Mitsui Trust & Banking Co., launched their holding firm, Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc., on Feb. 1. Sakura Trust changed its name to Mitsui Asset the same day.

Chuo Mitsui transferred its pension and security units to Mitsui Asset in late March. Tanabe said the move was aimed at “eliminating inefficiency (at Chuo Mitsui), as the banking division, which deals with risk assets such as loans, and the wholesale trust division, which has nothing to do with risk assets, were mixed in the same bank.”

“Mitsui Asset got high ratings from credit-rating agencies since it is free from banking operations, and we will further strengthen our (pension) operations,” he said.

Asked about possible business consolidation with the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. Group, Tanabe said, “Future realignment of our business structure is always on my mind, but nothing is definite at this stage.”

“I don’t think the latest change of our corporate structure will hinder any future realignment possibilities.”

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