Business / Corporate

Japan Post admits insurance and banking units engaged in improper sales to elderly people

Kyodo

Japan Post Holdings Co. said Monday its insurance and banking units repeatedly sold unsuitable insurance and investment trusts to elderly customers, prompting the financial watchdog to launch an investigation.

Japan Post President Masatsugu Nagato said around 40 percent of the total products sold to customers age 70 or above were unsuitable.

“I deeply regret (the wrongdoing). We will build a sales system that is centered on customers,” Nagato told a news conference.

Employees of Japan Post Insurance Co. recommended that clients terminate their insurance policies for fresh contracts even though they could be negatively impacted.

At Japan Post Bank Co., employees sold investment trusts to elderly people without checking the state of their health or their understanding of the products.

As part of corrective measures, Nagato said Japan Post will consider abolishing its current practice of setting sales targets for employees.

A senior official of the Financial Services Agency said a salesperson “must not hurt the interest of a client.”

The misconduct came to light as the profitability of the two units of the Japan Post group continues to be squeezed by the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rates policy.