Business

Japan Post uncovers nearly 20,000 cases of improper investment trust sales

JIJI

Japan Post Bank has said that it has found 19,591 cases of improper investment trust sales since April last year.

The cases involve the violation of internal rules that govern sales of investment trusts to customers age 70 or older, the Japan Post Holdings Co. unit said Friday.

The rules require staff to check customers’ health conditions and their understanding of the terms of the financial products twice, once at the time of soliciting and again with contract signing.

In the improper cases, customers were confirmed only once, when signing contracts, but were reported as being confirmed twice in internal reports, the company said.

The announcement adds to concerns about the Japan Post group’s governance capabilities following earlier revelations that Japan Post Insurance Co. and Japan Post Co. engaged in improper insurance sales.

“Improper procedures were carried out without thinking, to save steps,” Masahiro Nishimori, managing executive officer at Japan Post Bank, told a news conference.

“As a company, we have a lot to regret, such as giving insufficient guidance and making complicated manuals,” he said.

Of the total cases, 17,700 violations were committed between April 2018 and February 2019, and the remaining 1,891 took place between April 2018 and March 2019 at Japan Post Co., which sells investment trusts on behalf of the bank.

The bank will send letters to some 220,000 elderly customers holding its investment trusts to see if there are any problems with their contracts.

The group is focusing on investigating the inappropriate insurance sales while suspending sales of investment trusts. It aims to resume investment trust sales at the end of October, after taking preventive steps.

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