Line, Marui and KDDI look for slice of the securities industry

JIJI

Companies in telecommunications, retail and other sectors are entering the securities industry in Japan, aiming to provide young people with financial services that can be conveniently used with credit cards or smartphones.

Earlier this year, mobile phone carrier KDDI Corp., messaging app provider Line Corp. and department store operator Marui Group Co. announced their respective plans to make inroads into the securities sector.

All three companies have customer bases comprising mainly young people.

The moves come as these companies actively try to expand their offerings and existing securities firms hope to rejuvenate their customer bases.

In January, KDDI set up KDDI Asset Management Co. with major brokerage firm Daiwa Securities Group Inc. The joint venture plans to launch asset management services and products, such as defined-contribution pension plans, this summer.

Line is set to form a brokerage firm with Nomura Holdings Inc., another securities industry giant, later this month.

About half of Line’s customers are believed to be aged 40 or below. The planned firm will offer securities brokerage and investment consulting services to those aiming to build their assets, a Line official said.

As for Marui, the number of holders of the department store operator’s Epos credit card stood at 6.57 million at the end of March, with about half of them in their 20s or 30s.

The company plans to establish a securities firm, which this summer will launch services allowing customers to buy on credit investment trust products under a tax-free small investment plan.

Marui hopes to develop new customers, mainly young people, whom existing securities companies have been unable to attract, Marui President Hiroshi Aoi said.