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LINE subsidiary, Nomura Holdings launch smartphone brokerage service

Tetsuhiko Saito, left, CEO of LINE Securities Corp., and others are seen at a news conference in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Aug. 20, 2019. (Mainichi/Toshiki Miyazaki)

TOKYO -- A joint venture between a subsidiary of LINE Corp., the provider of the online messaging application, and Japanese leading brokerage Nomura Holdings Inc. launched investment services using smartphones on Aug. 20.

Businesses in the information technology sector and other industries have entered the brokerage field. Existing brokerages are also desperate to put the brakes on the trends of consumers shying away from investing in higher-risk financial instruments such as shares.

Tetsuhiko Saito, representative director and CEO of LINE Financial Corp., said it and Nomura jointly established LINE Securities Corp. in order to make it easier for beginners to invest in shares and other financial instruments by using smartphones.

LINE Securities Corp.'s website is seen on a smartphone in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Aug. 20, 2019. (Mainichi/Toshiki Miyazaki)

"We'd like to make it easier for consumers to manage their assets by allowing them to do so in their hands," Saito told a news conference in Tokyo on Aug. 20.

Under services provided by LINE Securities, investors can use a special smartphone application to buy even one share in a company.

Customers can invest as little as hundreds of yen to about 3,000 yen in shares of 100 well-known domestic companies selected by the newly established brokerage, and can trade in shares until 9 p.m. on weekdays.

Nomura Holdings has deposit assets from customers worth some 113 trillion yen, the largest amount in the industry, and has approximately 5.3 million accounts. However, most of its customers are senior citizens or wealthy people, and salespeople at the company meet these customers to recommend issues they should invest in.

Meanwhile, younger people in their 20s to 40s, who have sufficient knowledge about investing and find it troublesome to meet salespeople, prefer to use online brokerages that charge cheaper commissions. In an effort to overcome such a disadvantage, Nomura has chosen to join hands with LINE in launching online brokerage services.

"We'll jointly offer constantly evolving financial and brokerage services and speed up the trend of people switching from saving to building assets, which has hardly progressed thus far," Hajime Ikeda, senior managing director at Nomura Holdings, told the same news conference.

Other major brokerages are also trying to launch similar smartphone services to attract younger investors.

In February 2019, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. started special online services allowing investors to buy shares while examining corporate information such as financial statements and other data. Using the services, customers can select shares from among those of some 3,700 companies whose stocks are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In a bid to attract younger generations that have less savings, the company has allowed customers using the services to buy shares for as little as 500 yen.

Daiwa Securities Co. also set up a subsidiary specializing in services for those who are familiar with smartphones this past April and is aiming to begin services in spring 2020.

(Japanese original by Toshiki Miyazaki and Daichi Matsuoka, Business News Department)

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