A catch-up on some recent stories out of Japan’s financial sector:
- Officials and business leaders in Osaka Prefecture set up a group Monday to promote the city as a new international financial center in Asia, as Hong Kong loses its luster under China’s crackdown. The all-day outage at the Tokyo Stock Exchange last year has given supporters of Osaka a reason to push the area as an alternative to Tokyo, although the TSE insists safeguards are now in place to prevent a repeat.
- Policymakers may have found the one thing that can force execs to simplify their arcane capital structures: threatening their status in the elite grouping of Japan’s top firms. With months until a key deadline in the TSE’s makeover, companies are being forced to divest stakes, unwind tie-ups or cancel treasury stock to ensure that they qualify for the TSE’s new Prime segment.
- Nomura Holdings’ warning of a “significant” potential loss of about $2 billion from an unnamed U.S. client is related to the unwinding of trades by Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management, sources tell Bloomberg. Hwang’s New York firm is at the center of a margin call that led to the forced liquidation of more than $20 billion in shares Friday.
- With the gender gap still large among financial analysts in Japan, women who have blazed a trail in the job are calling for changes in the industry’s workstyle and in society’s deep-rooted bias. “What deter women from developing their careers are (conservative views in) society that see working women as selfish,” says Wakako Sato of Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
- Japan’s is still the undisputed No. 1 stock bubble in history. The proactive bursting of that bubble is the most dramatic example of how Japan’s elite is not afraid to act against vested interests, argues Jesper Koll. But there are many others. As for the result, we will never know whether the act brought more or less pain and hardship on society than a laissez-faire approach would have.