Positive Trends for Japanese Brokers

Improving industry dynamics and possible government reforms provide new opportunities to foreign and domestic banks and brokerages

There are some changes afoot in the Japanese brokerage industry that may benefit banks and brokerage firms doing business in Japan. Market reforms may soon allow banks to operate securities businesses with fewer restrictions, while Citigroup's (C) controlling stake in blue-chip broker Nikko Cordial could force a number of domestic and foreign firms to reassess their competitive positions. Amid these changes, merger activity roared back in the first quarter of 2007 after a slow 2006, and underwriting trends remained positive.

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