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Japan will introduce a system on Monday that allows agents to sell financial products such as housing loans, investment trusts and insurance under a single license.

The new system for financial service intermediaries unifies the separate registration systems for banks, insurers and other business types.

The new framework is expected to enable customers to choose a variety of financial products easily through their smartphones.

Competition in the financial services sector is expected to heat up as players from other industries enter the market.

Progress in social digitilization has led to the widespread use of smartphone apps for financial services.

However, registration systems to sell such products have been divided by business category, placing a heavy burden on companies that want to provide multiple services.

The former system also made it difficult for customers to compare financial products.

Under the new system, businesses such as cybermall operators can obtain a license to operate as a financial service intermediary and offer, for instance, property insurance for products and broker loans to retailers using their platforms.

Other envisaged services under the unified license system includes sales of investment trust funds at online insurance agencies and insurance and investment trust sales at credit card service counters of department stores.

“Consumers will find it easier to compare and purchase many types of financial products at one agent,” a senior official at the Financial Services Agency said.

Under the previous system, financial services agents had to receive detailed instructions from financial institutions about how to solicit customers and explain their services using brochures, in order to protect customers.

The new system will make it easier for agents to sell services from multiple financial institutions in one product category. However, it will limit life insurance products that can be sold with the new license to contracts for benefits of up to ¥10 million and those that do not require complicated explanations.

Financial service providers and information technology companies launched the Japan Financial Service Intermediary Business Association in April to prepare for the new system.

The association hopes to play the role of a self-regulatory organization and encourage transparency and diversification of the industry and its services.

“If many companies can enter the market (under the new system), consumers will see financial services as something close to them,” Jin Nakamura, chairman of the association, said.

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